Skip to main content

Full text of "A boy in the Peninsular War : the services, adventures and experiences of Robert Blakeney, subaltern in the 28th Regiment : an autobiography"

See other formats


t^rom me coileclwn ol 




Presented to the 

LIBRARY of the 




Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 











Second Impression 





the editok dedicates these memoirs of her 

mother's father, 

for whose acquaintance he is glad to 

own yet one more debt of 

gratitude to her. 


/^THELLO, confessing that lie cannot grace his cause 
^-^ with studied eloquence, pleads that at the tender age 
of seven years he gave himself to the grim labours of the 
tented field. Compared with this dark heroic babe, young 
Blakeney, joining the 28th Regiment as a boy of fifteen, 
must seem a hardy veteran. Yet he too pleads, as excuse 
for lack of style in the Memoirs which he left behind him, 
that soldiering and fighting began so early in his life 
as to leave scant time for acquisition of the literary airs 
and graces. And in the same apologetic vein he says that 
he wrote his Memoirs in an island where were no libraries 
and no books of reference in which he might verify the 
dates and facts of his plain unvarnished tale. 

It may be that to some more literary penman the idea of 
writing memoirs in the Island of Zante, one of those Grecian 
isles which toward sunset show form so delicate and colour 
so exquisite that one would think them rather the 
kingdom of Oberon than the haunt of a retired warrior 
of the Peninsula — to sit at ease in that enchanted air 
and summon from the past the gallant deeds of heroes 
and the kind looks of friends — may seem no despicable 
recompense for the sad want of all the books of reference. 

With groaning shelves and ponderous catalogues in easy 
reach, conscience makes cowards of us poor followers of 


literature ; we are chilled in mid career, and our happy 
freedom of statement is checked by intrusive doubt of the 
date of this battle or of the name of that general. Even 
the irresponsible purveyor of fiction must tramp the 
street or fly on the handy bicjxle, to make sure that he 
has not plunged his hero into the midst of a revolution 
two years before it took place, or shown his tender heroine 
in tears over the song of an eminent composer ere yet 
the moving song- writer was breeched. 

How deep was the regret which the author of these 
Memoirs felt for the premature end of his lessons and 
for the want of invaluable books of reference, I am unable 
to say ; but I have ventured to suppress his brief preface 
of apology because frankly I claim for him not pardon 
nor tolerance, but gratitude and even affection. 

As in that island of dreams he recalled his stirring 
boyhood, his friendships formed and joyous under the 
shadow of death, his zeal and admiration for the great 
leaders under whom he served, his personal adventures 
and historic battles, his marches, bivouacs and careless 
jests, his pen became again like the pen of a boy who 
describes his house football match or the exploits of the 
favourite hero of the school. Like a boy too, he had 
his more important moments — his fine attempts at elo- 
quence, grandiloquence ; he became literary, self-conscious, 
innocently pompous, like a boy. The pen in his hand 
grew great as he proclaimed the valour of the brave, 
the pageant of plumed troops, the pomp of glorious war. 
And indeed the pen, grown mightier than the sword, 
executed at times cuts and flourishes so intricate that 
the modest editor has had to bring it to the scabbard, or, 
in his own language of the ink-pot, to contribute once or 
twice the necessary fullstop. But these tempestuous 


passages, these patches which aim at the purple, are few ; 
and it should be said at once that they are never concerned 
with the author's own exploits. It is the noble character 
of Sir John Moore that starts the rhapsody, or General 
Graham, or Paget, or Hill, or the great Wellington himself ; 
and, above all, it is the indomitable valour of the British 
soldier — of the British soldier who is so often Irish. 

There may be some who think that Captain Blakeney 
should have apologised for being Irish ; and indeed, though 
I protest against any shadow of apology, the Irish nature 
of our author, whose ancestors came out of Norfolk, may 
be mentioned as an explanation of the frank and flowing 
statement of his hopes and fears, his joys and sorrows, 
his moving accidents and hairbreadth escapes. Our Anglo- 
Saxon ideal of the young soldier becomes more and more 
the youth who is a hero and won't mention it. He is a 
most engaging person too. Ask him of the deed which 
filled the daily papers and the mouths of men, and he 
blushes, mutters, and escapes to his club. If you bring 
all your power of persuasion to bear upon him in his 
most yielding hour, you may draw from him some such 
statement as this : " Well, I cut the Johnny down and 
I brought the Tommy off. It was all rot, and there was 
nothing in it ; any chap would have done it." That is 
fine. Perhaps it is the fine flower of a race more eminent 
in action than in art. But if we care for memoirs, let 
us be thankful for the Frenchman or the Irishman who 
will do his deeds of daring and not be ashamed to 
describe them for our profit and our pleasure. Nor is it 
fair to infer that there is more vanity in the one than 
in the other. In the case of Blakeney, at least, I shall 
be disappointed indeed if any reader suspect him of 
braggadocio. When he relates his own adventures, his 


own acts in battle, his language is simple, direct, vivid ; 
iie states plain facts. When he recalls the exploits 
of others — of veteran generals, of boys like himself, of 
private soldiers and especially of his own beloved 28th 
Regiment, then he cries out a little gloriously perhaps, 
but with a frankness, a generosity, an honest ardour of 
admiration which surely may win pardon from the most 
severe of critics. 

In truth it is a gallant and charming young soldier 
who calls to us from the beginning of the century which 
is now so near its close. He has waited long for friendly 
recognition from any but the generals who saw him fight 
and the young comrades who drank with him at mess and 
marched with him to battle. The young comrades, like 
the old generals, have marched the common road ; and 
it is to a generation who knew not the author that these 
Memoirs modestly, but with a certain confidence, make 
their appeal. 

The ardent boy joined his regiment in 1804, at the 
age of fifteen ; and in the next ten years he had had 
fighting enough to content most men for a lifetime. It 
is the record of these years which has lain so long in 
dust, and which I now offer to the reader; and I would 
ask him to bear in mind, as he reads, the looks and nature 
of the young soldier whose fortunes he will follow. He 
was of middle height and lightly made, but active healthy 
and handsome. He was eager for friendship and for fight, 
quick and confident in action, observing with keen accurate 
eyes, and so clever at languages that he picked them up 
on the march and conversed with the natives of Spain and 
Portugal and France with equal audacity and success. 
Perhaps more than all one finds in him that natural gaiety 
of heart which neither danger nor fatigue could dull. 


neither the want of wealth and honours nor sight of the 
appalling horrors of war. His young eyes beheld some 
deeds done at Badajoz of which the mere description has 
seemed to me too horrible for print. It will be held by 
the most bloodthirsty of readers that enough remains. 

We are all most warlike now — even the peaceful 
guardians of the public purse and gentle editors who would 
not hurt a fly ; and perhaps it is no bad thing to recall the 
horrors of a captured town, lest we take all war to be but 
glory and gaiety and something to read about in the papers. 
Modern governments offer to the people the alarums and 
excursions of little wars, as the masters of ancient Rome 
amused their citizens with the grim combats of the circus ; 
and we read the daily papers in the same spirit in which 
the Roman crowd followed the fights of favourite gladiators 
or the young Britons of to-day make holiday in looking on 
at football matches instead of playing on more modest 
fields themselves. War is a bad thing at the best. Even 
our hero, for all his gladness and prowess, was disappointed 
in the end ; nor have many men that abounding gift of 
gaiety which carried him, one may be sure, through the 
peaceful years of later Jife, happy in spite of a recurring 
sense of injury. If he was neither rich nor famous, he 
could sing, like the traveller with the empty pockets, in 
the presence of the robber or of the War Office. And he 
found pleasure too in the preparation of these Memoirs ; 
one feels it as one reads. He is in an amiable mood. He 
expresses the hope that he will hurt the feelings of no 
man, and all his pages are proof of his sincerity. Except 
for one or two Spanish generals, whom he cannot endure 
for the empty pomp and pride which marred the simple 
valour of their men, he has abundant admiration for friend 
and foe. He would have you know too, that when he 


treats of movements and of battles already described, he 
makes no claim to draw them better. He puts down 
what he saw with his own eyes, what he heard with his 
own ears, — that is the value of his work. To me at least 
he seems to give the very air of the battlefield. He is 
in the midst of the fight ; he makes ns see it from inside, 
breathe the smoke, and hear the hoarse word of command 
answered by the groan of the wounded. 

It may be of interest to some to know that this young 
soldier was of the Blakeney family of Abbert in County 
Galway, where they were granted lands in the time of 
Queen Elizabeth. They came thither out of Norfolk, where, 
I am told, there is a Blakeney Harbour, which was called 
after them. 

The Robert Blakeney of these Memoirs was born in 
Galway in 1789, joined the army in 1804, and left it in 
1828. Not long before his resignation he married Maria 
Giulia Balbi, the last of her ancient family whose name 
is in the Libro d'Oro of Venice ; for between her birth 
and that of her brother the Venetian Republic had come 
to an end. The little Maria was brought by her parents 
to Corfu. In that most lovely island of the world she 
grew to womanhood, and there she loved and married 
Robert Blakeney, whose fighting days were done. 

Successive Lords High Commissioners were Blakeney's 
friends, and found him work to do. Under Lord Nugent 
he was Inspector of Police in Corfu ; under Sir Howard 
Douglas he was Inspector of Health in the Island of 
Zante ; and later, under Lord Seaton, he became Resident 
of the Island of Paxo. This office he held for twentj^-one 
years, until he died in 1868 in his seventieth year. 

So there came to him, when he was still young, a life 
of peace passed in a land of dreams. But the thoughts of 


the old soldier turned often to the more misty island 
of his birth, and to that famous peninsula made sacred 
to his memory by the blood of gallant comrades. His 
heart grew warm again as he summoned from the past 
the battles, sieges, fortunes of his adventurous boyhood, 
the happy days of youth, of friendship and of war. 




















































xviii CONTENTS. 













. 359 
. 371 




TN the Gazette of July 1804 it appeared tliat Robert 
-^ Blakeney, gentleman, was appointed to an ensigncy in 
the 28th Regiment of infantry. Relying on the delusive 
promise that zeal would meet certain reward, I immediately 
joined my regiment near Cork, where they lay encamped, 
forming part of a corps under command of Sir Eyre Coote. 
On the second day after my joining, the whole of the troops 
marched to Kinsale, and having taken up a position on 
some high ground looking down on the bay, the men 
commenced firing ball with as much anxiety as if the 
whole French flotilla, filled with ruthless invaders and 
headed by Napoleon in person, were attempting a landing 
underneath. Some seagulls were seen to fall, and it was 
confidently reported that many others were wounded. 
As soon as the fight was over, the men sat down to dine 
with all those proud feelings which soldiers are wont to 
entertain after a victory. Never shall I forget the thrilling 
emotion which agitated my whole frame at seeing the 




blood fall from the hand of one of the soldiers, wounded 
through the clumsy manner in which he fixed his flint. 
1 eyed each precious drop that fell with glowing sensations 
such as would blaze in the breast of a Napoleon on 
beholding an old dynasty diadem, or inflame the heart 
of a Scot in contemplating a new place in the Treasury. 

I now became on the effective strength of the 1st 
Battalion, which I joined the next year. Both battalions 
of the regiment were removed to Parsonstown, and thence 
proceeded to the Curragh of Kildare, where twenty 
thousand men were encamped under the command of Lord 
Cathcart. Second lieutenants were now given to all first 
battalion companies, so that immediately on our arrival 
here the three senior ensigns of the regiment, Robert 
Johnson, Robert Blakeney and Charles Cadell, were 
promoted ; and thus I again joined the 2nd Battalion in 
camp. On the breaking up of this encampment, the two 
battalions of the regiment were separated. The 1st 
proceeded to Mallow and thence to Monkstown, where they 
shortly after embarked for Germany in the expedition 
commanded by the above-mentioned nobleman. The 2nd 
Battalion, to which I now again belonged, were ordered to 
do garrison duty in Dublin. 

In the December of this year, being ordered to proceed 
to Exeter on the recruiting service, I embarked on board 
the mercantile brig Britannia, Captain Burrows, bound 
from Dublin to Bristol ; and a more ignorant drunken 
lubber never commanded a vessel. The wind, which might 
be considered a fresh breeze at leaving the port, blew 
hard as we entered the Bristol Channel, when our ignorant 
master nearly ran us foul of Lundy Island, which more 
through good luck than able seamanship we fortunately 
weathered. As we proceeded the gale became tremendous ; 


the billows rolled in majestic, yet horrific, grandeur over our 
heads, sweeping everything off deck ; and then the master, 
far from encouraging the crew and by good example 
inspiring them with a due sense of the duty which they had 
to perform, added to their terror and dispirited all by 
his degrading and worse than useless lamentation, calling 
aloud on his wife and children, then in Bristol. An attempt 
was made to run the vessel into the small port of Ilfra- 
combe, but this failed through the ignorance and terror 
of the master. Still impetuously driven forward, we 
approached the small village of Combemartin, when a loud 
crash was heard, caused, if I recollect right, by striking 
against a sandbank ; and then the captain, in his usual 
consolatory language, cried out that all was lost and every 
soul on board must perish. A gentleman passenger now 
came down to the cabin, and, vainly endeavouring to 
restrain his unwilling yet manly tears, embraced his wife 
and two young children, who lay helpless in one of the 
berths. The innocent little babes clung round his neck, 
beseeching him to take their mamma and them on shore. 
He endeavoured to soothe their grief ; but that which he 
considered it to be his painful duty to impart was most 
heartrending. He recommended them and his wife to 
remain tranquil in their berths, saying that it was totally 
useless to attempt going on deck, for all hope was lost, and 
that they should turn all their thoughts to Heaven alone. 
The scene was excessively affecting, and acted, I confess, 
more powerfully on my feelings than all the dangers with 
which we were surrounded ; for although I had lain the 
whole time in my berth so overpowered with sea-sickness 
as to be incapable of any exertion, I now started up and 
hurried on deck just as the brutal drunken skipper was 
knocked down by a blow from the tiller whilst trying to 


direct it. Urged by the impulse of the moment, I seized 
the abandoned tiller, and moved it in the direction which I 
saw the late occupant attempt. At this critical moment 
we descried a person on horseback making signals. This 
gentleman, having witnessed our failm'e to enter Ilfra- 
combe, and foreseeing our inevitable destruction should we 
be driven past Combemartin, rode at full speed along the 
shore, waving his hat sometimes in one direction, sometimes 
in another. Assisted by one of the passengers — I think a 
Mr. Bunbury (all the sailors were now drunk) — I moved the 
tiller in conformity with the signals made by the gentleman 
on shore, and in a short time we succeeded in guiding the 
vessel through a very intricate and narrow passage between 
rocks and banks, and finally ran her aground on a shoal of 
sand. The storm still continuing to blow furiously, the 
vessel beat violently from side to side against the sand- 
banks ; but some men having contrived to come off from 
the village, to which we were now close, and fastening ropes 
to the mast, bound her fast down on one side, when the whole 
crew got safe to land. We subsequently learned that eight 
vessels were that morning wrecked in the Bristol Channel. 

It must be allowed that much credit was due to the 
fishermen of Combemartin for the alacrity they showed in 
giving us their assistance ; but it must also be confessed 
that while we remained for a few hours in the village they 
appeared to be the rudest and most uncouth people I ever 
met with in Great Britain. Every man in the village 
claimed to be the first who came to assist us, and as such 
demanded a suitable reward. Much of our luggage dis- 
appeared in being removed from the vessel to the shore, 
and was heard of no more. The greater part of my own goods, 
through my own ignorance of voyaging and the carelessness 
and inattention of the master being left exposed on deck, 


was washed away daring the storm ; but what money I 
possessed was luckily hoarded up in my trousers pocket ; 
and in truth my trousers were the only part of my dress 1 
had on during the whole time I was on deck assuming the 
functions of pilot and captain, the skipper being in a state 
of torpidity from fright and drunkenness. As soon as we 
could procure means of transport, which took some hours, 
we proceeded to Ilfracombe ; for Combemartin was incapable 
of affording accommodation for so large a party. 

Credit was given to me for having saved the crew, but 
1 took none to myself. It was the first time I had ever 
been on board of any vessel larger than an open fishing-boat, 
and I was consequently as ignorant of steering a ship as 
of training an elephant. Any part I took, therefore, was 
perfectly mechanical, and the inventive and true merit was 
solely due to the gentleman on shore, by whose directions 
I was guided. Being subservient to the will of another, 
I could have as little claim to credit for judgment or 
plan, principle or reflection, as could a wine-wagged billy- 
punch or a tail-voter in the House. 

Next morning I proceeded to Exeter, but previous to my 
departure my attention was called to two Dublin ladies, 
fellow passengers, who, being bound direct for Bristol, were 
not prepared to meet the expenses of a land journey thither. 
They appeared much distressed in mind, and declared they 
would rather die than leave any part of their luggage in 
pledge. I lent them a few guineas out of my own small 
stock, upon which they took my address, promising to remit 
the money as soon as they arrived at Bristol ; but, gaining 
experience as I advanced, I found that I should have taken 
their address, for I never after heard of or from them. 

After having remained some months in Devonshire on the 
recruiting service, I was ordered to join the let Battalion 


of the regiment, tlien quartered at Colchester, after 
their return from the fruitless expedition into Germany. 
We did not long remain here. On July 24th of the next 
year the regiment marched from Colchester to Harwich, 
and there embarked to join a second expedition, commanded 
by Lord Cathcart. So profoundly was our destination 
kept secret, and so ignorant were we all of the object 
in view, that we could not even conjecture whither we 
were going, until on August 8th we arrived in the Sound, 
and anchored late that night close under Elsinore Castle, 
during the loudest storm of thunder, accompanied by the 
most brilliant lightning, I ever witnessed. At intervals 
the immense fleet, consisting of men-of-war, transports 
and merchantmen, the islands of Zealand, the extent of 
the Sound, together with the opposite Swedish coast, as 
if suddenly emerged from darkest chaos, instantly became 
more visible than if lighted by the noonday sun in all 
his splendour. These astonishing elemental crashes and 
dazzling shows were as suddenly succeeded by deathlike 
silence and darkness so impenetrable that not an individual 
could be distinguished even by those who stood nearest on 
deck. Yet, although the ground of the night was perfectly 
dark, still, guided by the vivid flashes with which it was 
relieved, every vessel of this apparently unwieldy fleet fell 
into her proper berth, and, duly measuring the appropriate 
length of cable, swung securely to her anchor ; and, strange 
to say, not a single casualty took place through the whole. 
The scene altogether was excessively grand, and truly 
presented what in hackneyed poetic phrase is termed 
sublime. The jarring elements seemed to portend evil to 
the descendants of Odin, nor were there wanting some 
with evil eye who foreboded something rotten in the 
state of Denmark. 



TpOR some days the most friendly intercourse was 
-*- maintained between the inhabitants and the British 
officers. Parties from the fleet landed daily, were hos- 
pitably received, and both liberally and cheerfully provided 
with all such articles as could contribute to their comfort ; 
no suspicion of our hostile intentions was even conjectured 
by the deluded Danes. At length, the true object of our 
designs being suspected, a Danish frigate which lay near 
us slipped her cable on the night of the 13th and con- 
trived to get away in the dark ; but on her escape being 
discovered at daybreak, the Comus sloop of war was sent 
in pursuit. Since it was a dead calm, she was towed out 
by the boats of the fleet. 

The scene is still fresh in my memory, and I fancy that 
I see the long line of boats manfully urged forward, our 
brave jolly tars, after every two or three strokes of the 
oars, crying out, " Hurrah ! hurrah ! for the Danish black 
frigate ! " At length the Comus came up with her in the 
Cattegat on her way to Norway, and after a short conflict 
brought her back a prize into her own port, and this 
hostile act put an end to all further intercourse on friendly 
terms. Some English boats which approached the shore 
next morning were fired at, and none were thenceforward 
allowed to land. 


On the 15tli we dropped down to Humlebek, a village 
about seven miles distant from Copenhagen ; and on the 
following day, covered by seventeen ships of the line, a 
proportionate number of frigates, gunboats, etc., commanded 
by Admiral Gambier, the military commanded by Lord 
Cathcart landed with fire and sword upon ground suddenly 
considered hostile. No previous intimation of intended 
hostility was given, as is customary amongst all civilised 
nations, when real injuries have been suffered, or imaginary 
ones held forth as a pretext for political aggression. 

At this village (Humlebek) it was that a hundred and 
seven years previous to this our attack the Alexander 
of the north landed from the Kiiig Charles, the largest 
ship then known to the waves and carrying one hundred 
and twenty guns. Here it was that this extraordinary 
man heard for the first time the whistling of bullets. 
Ignorant of the cause, he asked General Stuart by whom 
he was accompanied ; and the general with characteristic 
frankness answered, " It is the whistling of bullets fired 
at your Majesty." " Good," replied the warlike j^oung 
monarch ; " henceforth it shall be my music," 

But how different were the motives which urged the 
hostile descent in 1700 from those which inspired our 
attack in 1807 — as different as was the beardless Charles, 
not yet eighteen, in the bloom of youth, with the fiery 
martial genius which soon made him the terror of Europe, 
and burning with anger at national aggression and personal 
insult, from our leader, who was already descending into 
the vale of years, and who could have felt no greater 
stimulus than military discipline in strictly obeying orders 
which he probably disapproved ! Military excitement there 
was none. On our landing, no whistling bullets greeted 
the veteran's ear, nor inspired the young soldier to deeds 


of deathless glory. Laurels there were none to reap, for 
the defence of the capital depended principally on un- 
disciplined militia and young students at college. To 
add still further to the contrast, the Swedes landed as 
open and declared foes, whereas we, coming with no less 
hostile intent, professed ourselves bosom friends. 

On the night of our landing (August 16th) we advanced 
through a lofty forest. During our march an alarm was 
given that the foe were approaching. Orders were instantly 
issued to load with ball and fix bayonets, when many a 
sleek-chinned boy lost or gained the flush on his cheek. 
I now forget in which class I ranked, as, with many others 
present, it was the first time I expected to come in contact 
with a national foe, for such the Danes were some few 
hours before declared. The alarm proved false, and we 
felt grievously disappointed or happily consoled, according 
to the feelings of the individual. 

Next morning we continued our march towards the 
capital ; but ere we reached the immediate vicinity of 
Copenhagen our march was interrupted by an occurrence 
not ordinary in warfare. A dense column of dust proclaimed 
the advance of some large body, which we naturally con- 
sidered to be hostile. Horsemen were soon discovered, when 
we immediately formed in battle array ; but we soon learned 
that the approaching foe were no other than a civic caval- 
cade, who escorted the Royal Princesses of Denmark to 
a place of safety, having been by special permission 
allowed to retire from the scene of premeditated slaughter. 
The royal carriages slowly advanced, accompanied by 
many of the principal nobility of Denmark, and attended 
by a small escort of dragoons. The unfortunate Princesses 
wept bitterly, as did many of the nobles who were with 
them. In witnessing their grief it was impossible to 


remain- unmoved. The whole appeared a sorrowful funeral 
procession, although all were living bodies. As the royal 
mourners passed between our hostile ranks, arms were 
presented, colours dropped and bands played the National 
Anthem, " God save the King," thus adding to the poig- 
nancy of their woe by vain pageant and heartless courtesy. 
This distressing ceremony being ended, we pushed forward, 
and, having arrived before the destined town, each corps 
took up their proper position. 

Our station was near the village of Frederiksborg, in a 
wheatfield whose golden ears o'ertopped the tallest grena- 
dier ; the stems we trampled down for bedding, giving the 
grain to our sumpter animals. 

This being the first time I ever adventured from the 
shores of Great Britain, everything was new to me and con- 
sequently enjoyed. I saw the first Gongreve rockets ever 
fired against an enemy. They seemed reluctant to add to 
the conflagration, many of them in the midst of their orbit 
turning back to whence they were sped. I witnessed the 
fall of the lofty and majestic steeple, bearing the three 
crowns, awfully tumbling down among the blazing ruins. 
The loud and tremendous crash, heard for miles around, 
was terrific ; and it must have been a heartrending spectacle 
to the proud and patriotic Danes, who witnessed the de- 
struction of such a noble monument of national grandeur. 
Immediately after the deafening crash, still growling in the 
distance, suddenly there arose an immense body of fire, 
which, detaching itself from the ruins, illumined the whole 
island, blazing in spiral form towards the heavens, as if to 
demand retribution. I saw well the splendour of the scene, 
being that night an outlying piquet with Captain (now 
Sir Frederick) Stovin. In the meantime the inhabitants 
were most liberally served with shells, shot and rockets. 


While the siege was thus actively carried forward, a 
report was made that some Danish troops, so called, had 
occupied in hostile array an eminence in our immediate 
vicinity. A detachment were immediately sent against 
them, of which one wing of the 28th Regiment formed a 
part, and in this wing I was a feather. On our arrival 
at the base of this eminence we did actually discover a 
confused multitude congregated on the summit ; but upon 
our preparing to charge they instantly took flight. 

The affair, although of no consequence, was not un- 
attended with trophies. On the ground occupied by 
the discomfited Danes were found many old rusty sword- 
blades, and very many pairs of wooden shoes, with which 
the Danish troops were loosely shod, for, becoming nervous 
at the threatened charge, they freed themselves from those 
encumbrances and fled in light marching order, determined, 
if closely pursued, rather to attempt swimming across the 
Belt than carry further their cumbrous pontoons. The 
proud victors returned to the trenches. 

For what took place in the interior of the island, since I 
was not there, I will refer the curious to the despatches 
written home on the occasion, wherein these skirmishes or 
manoeuvres, if I recollect right, are in glowing language 
fally detailed. All our batteries — constructed generally in 
the most beautiful and highly cultivated gardens, belonging 
to the nobility and wealthy citizens of Copenhagen — opened 
their fire on September 1st, which with but little inter- 
mission continued until the 6th. On the 7th, when 
about to be stormed, the capital surrendered, after having 
four hundred houses, several churches, and many other 
splendid buildings destroyed, and eleven hundred inhabitants 
of all ages and sexes killed. 

As soon as the first paroxysms of furious excitement, wild 


despair and just indignation of the unfortunate inhabitants 
had somewhat abated, a certain number of officers from each 
regiment, with written passports, were permitted to visit 
the still smoking city. The spectacle was lamentable and 
well calculated to rouse every feeling of sympathy. Many 
houses were still smouldering, and in part crumbled to the 
ground ; mothers were bewailing the melancholy fate of 
their slaughtered children, and there was not one but 
deplored the loss of some fondly beloved relative or dearly 
valued friend. Yet they received us with dignified, though 
cool courtesy, in part suppressing that horror and antipathy 
which they must have felt at our presence, though some 
indeed exclaimed that their sufferings were the more 
aggravated as being inflicted contrary to the laws of all 
civilised nations. The unfortunate sufferers seemed not to 
reflect that war was will, not law. 

In less than six weeks after the fall of Copenhagen 
(which time was occupied in rendering the Danish ships 
seaworthy, and spoiling its well-stored arsenal to the last 
nail and minutest rope-yarn) we departed, carrying away 
with us, as prizes, eighteen sail of the line, fifteen frigates, 
five brigs, and twenty gunboats. 

It would be useless to enter into further detail on 
this painful subject. The partial conflagration of the 
Danish capital, and the rape of her fleet by her friends 
the British, are already too well known throughout 
Europe, as well as the reasons adduced in vindication, 
namely " precaution " — surely a most unjustiflable policy. 
The great Aristides, characteristically called the "just," 
would have spurned the proposal of such ignoble policy, 
as may be seen by his celebrated reply to the treacherous 
proposition of Themistocles to burn the fleet of their 
allies. Aristides, being deputed by the assembly to 


ascertain tlie proposition of Themistocles, who would 
deliver it only in secret, on his return declared that 
nothing could tend more to the advantage of Athens 
than the proposition of Themistocles, nor could anything 
be more unjust. The high-spirited people of Athens, 
indignant that a proposition of such nature should be 
mooted, rejected it with contempt, not deigning even to 
listen to its import. 

The descent on Copenhagen was a flagrant outrage of 
that divine precept which inculcates that " that which is 
morally wrong can never be politically right." 



"TpVERYTHING being now in readiness which we could 
~^ carry away, we departed from the shores of Denmark 
in the latter end of October, and after a most boisterous 
passage, in which all the gunboats perished at sea, we 
arrived in England towards the latter end of November. 
The 28th Regiment landed at Portsmouth, and a few days 
later marched for Colchester. Here we occupied our old 
barracks, in little more than four months from the period 
of our departure thence for foreign service, but within 
that short time how wonderfully did we add to the 
notoriety of Great Britain ! It was facetiously said that 
the British expeditions sent forth at this time were like 
the drunken Irishman at Donnybrook Fair, intent on fight 
but devoid of plan, who meets his friend and knocks 
him down for love. 

A few months after my return (it being confidently 
supposed that the regiment would now remain for some time 
at home), I procured leave of absence to visit my friends 
in Ireland ; but shortly after my departure the regiment 
received orders, in April, to embark at Harwich, and 
join the expedition under Sir John Moore. I was imme- 
diately recalled ; but on my arrival in London I found 
that the army had sailed already for Sweden. I procured 
a passage to follow the expedition on board the Fur^ Bomb, 



Here I cannot say that I felt comfortable. It was the 
first time I had the honour of sailing in a man-of-war. 
There were many ceremonies to be observed of which I 
was ignorant, and the close observance of these was 
attended with some annoyance to a novice. As usual I 
suffered severely from sea-sickness, which at times induced 
me to sit on a gun or relieve my aching head against the 
capstan ; and this I was given to understand was a Royal 
Naval innovation which could not be tolerated. Although 
Captain Gibson, who commanded, was very polite and 
frequently entertained me with anecdotes of himself and 
of a namesake and relative of mine, whom he stated 
to be his most intimate friend and brother officer, still 
the only place I could procure to sleep on was a trunk 
immediately under the purser's hammock. Even this 
luxury I was denied in daytime, for everything being 
cleared away at an early hour, I was compelled to quit my 
roost at cock-crow in the morning. It not unfrequently 
happened, too, that, running up on deck, urged by a sick 
stomach, I forgot the ceremony of saluting the quarter- 
deck, and the omission was always followed by reproof. 
Although a strict observance of these regulations was 
rather teasing to me in my irritated state of mind and 
body, yet I feel perfectly aware of its expediency on 
board a man-of-war. 

Having at length anchored in Gottenborg harbour, I 
descended from the noble punctilious man-of-war, and was 
lowered into the humble transport, where I found ad 
libitum sea-sickness a luxury compared to the restraint 
which I had lately undergone. 

I now doubly enjoyed the society of my old comrades. 
By these I was informed that on the arrival of the 
expedition at Gottenborg, which took place a few days 


previously, the troops were refused permission to land. 
About this period, although the British troops were sent 
to all parts as friends, yet unfortunately they were every- 
where viewed with distrust, and a strict watch kept on 
all their movements. The prohibition to land his troops 
being totally contrary to the expectations of Sir John 
Moore, he immediately proceeded to Stockholm to demand 
explanation of this extraordinary conduct on the part of 
Sweden and also to seek instructions, having, as it would 
appear, received none at home. 

In an interview with his Swedish Majesty the British 
general declined to accept some extraordinary propositions 
matured in the quixotic brain of that inconsistent monarch. 
The first was, that Sir John Moore, with his ten thousand 
British troops, should conquer the kingdom of Denmark ; 
the second, that a similar attempt should be made with 
like means on the Kussian empire. Finally, as Sir John 
Moore peremptorily refused to shut up the British army 
in the fortress of Stralsund (then about to be invested by 
an overwhelming French army), he was placed under arrest 
by the king. 

In the meantime we were actively employed in practising 
landings from the flat-bottomed boats, as if in the face of 
an enemy, and scampering over the rocks to keep the men 
in exercise. This salubrious mode of warfare continued 
without intermission until Sir John Moore contrived to 
have secret information conveyed to the army, when we 
immediately dropped down out of reach of the Swedish 
batteries ; and shortly afterwards, having eluded the vigil- 
ance of Gustavus, to the great joy of all, on June 29th 
our gallant chief arrived safe on board the fleet. 

Setting sail for England on July 2nd, we arrived oflp 
Yarmouth about the middle of the month. Here taking 


ia water and fresh provisions, we continued our course for 
Spithead ; and thence we took our second departure from 
England, this time for Portugal, the more delighted since 
we left our tails behind us. To the great joy of the whole 
army an order arrived from the Horse Guards, while we 
lay at Spithead, to cut off the men's queues. These, from 
their shape, and being generally soaped for effect, were 
called pigtails ; thenceforth the custom of plastering the 
men's heads with soap was abolished in the British Army. 

Sailing from St. Helen's on July 31st, 1808, August 
19th brought us close off the coast of Portugal. Next 
morning we commenced landing at Figueira, close to 
the mouth of the Mondego. A large part of the army 
were already on shore, and some of the troops had com- 
menced moving forward when Sir John Moore received 
a despatch informing him that Sir Arthur Welles ley 
had fought and defeated the enemy at Rolica, and' hourly 
expected a second engagement. The disembarkation was 
instantly countermanded ; the troops on march were 
recalled, and put on board as quickly as the high surf 
and rapidity of the current would permit. Everything 
again in sailing order, and every heart elate, we continued 
our course southward, now steering direct for the theatre 
of actual war ; and the true martial spirit glowed in the 
breast of every true soldier. 

Imagine, then, what must have been our feelings on 
the following morning (August 21st) when in almost a 
dead calm we moved slowly along, apparently rendered 
more slow by our plainly hearing the heavy booming of 
cannon, at that moment pouring forth their fury from 
the heights of Vimieiro. But they alone who have been 
in battle and cordially mingled in fight, can sympathise 
with the feelings which thrill through every nerve and 


agitate the frame of those who, all but in reach of the 
field, yet are withheld from participating in its glory. 
Intense excitement painfully marked the veteran's con- 
tracted brow, while fiery impatience flashed in the eyes 
of the young soldiers. 

Creeping along the scarcely ruffled surface of the waters 
like wounded snakes or Alexandrine verse, we, seemingly 
in so many years, arrived in three days in the unquiet 
bay or roadstead of Peniche. Here, although the distant 
sea continued calm, still the surf so dashed against the 
shore that we found much difficulty in landing. When 
this at last was done, we immediately proceeded to unite 
with Sir Arthur Wellesley's troops, whom we found 
still upon the ground, so late the theatre of their gallant 
exploits. This, our first march, although but of three 
leagues, was severely felt, since with the exception of a 
scramble over the rocks in the vicinity of Gottenborg 
harbour, we had been for upward of four months cooped 
up in miserable little transports. The men had scarcely 
the use of their limbs ; and being so long unaccustomed 
to carry their packs, to which were now added three 
days' provisions and sixty rounds of ball-cartridge, in 
this 'their first march, with the thermometer between 
ninety and a hundred, many were left behind and slowly 
followed after. The 4th or King's Own Regiment, with 
whom we were then brigaded, from its seniority of 
number, marched in front. Although at the time perhaps 
the finest looking body of men in the Army, the select 
of three battalions, yet, being generally rather advanced 
in age as soldiers and heavy-bodied, they were on this 
day continually falling out of the ranks and flanking the 
road. This afforded an opportunity to one of our light 
hardy Irishmen (a class of which the 28th Regiment was 


then chiefly composed) to remark : " Faith I this is a very 
deceiving march ; the royal milestones are so close to 
each other." 

Nor did the officers suffer less than the men. Being 
mostly very young, and with the exception of those who 
were at Copenhagen, where little or no marching took 
place, never having seen a shot fired, they were totally 
ignorant of the nature of a campaign. Means of transport 
being always very difficult to procure in Portugal and 
Spain, we all overloaded ourselves, carrying a boat-cloak, in 
itself heavy, in which was rolled a partial change of dress. 
Our haversacks contained, as did the men's, three days' 
provisions, to which was added an extra pair of boots or 
shoes ; and every gentleman carried a stout charge of rum 
on service, when so fortunate as to be able to procure it. 
Each young warrior too hampered himself with a case 
of pistols and a liberal quantity of ball-cartridge, and 
generally a heavy spyglass. Thus heavily equipped, many 
of us commenced our first day's march in the Peninsula, 
in the month of August, with thermometer at ninety-five. 
However, before we proceeded much further in the cam- 
paign, a light cart was allowed to each regiment for the 
convenience of the officers, which by diminishing our loads 
wonderfully increased our comfort. 

We now fully expected to move rapidly forward against 
the foe ; but slow and solemn marches were substituted. 
Nor could we account for this extraordinary inaction, 
although rumour was abroad that this our first campaign 
in Portugal was in honourable progress through the medium 
of foolscap and sheepskin. Still we plodded forward, until 
we arrived at the plains of Queluz, about ^ye miles distant 
from Lisbon, where we halted, and where our late sluggish 
movements were accounted for, when we heard of the 


celebrated Convention of Cintra. By this the Muscovite 
fleet, which by all the laws of war we considered securely 
our own, were allowed triumphantly to depart from out the 
Tagus with their national colours flying ; and Junot also 
with his troops and all their plunder, sacrilegiously carried 
off from holy temples or wrung from the helpless orphan 
or widow, — and this ill-gotten freight was conveyed in 
British ships to the shores of our most inveterate foes. 

The three Commanders-in-chief, with whom the more than 
anxious care of the ministry contemporaneously furnished 
the small army in Portugal, were recalled to England to 
account for their conduct, or misconduct — one for having 
offended some part of the ministry by gaining a splendid 
victory, another for having offended his country by blasting 
the fruits of that victory, and the third for having done 
nothing but ratify a degrading convention, odious to all. 
It is scarcely necessary here to state that these high 
personages were (beginning with the junior) Sir Arthur 
Wellesley, Sir Harry Burrard, and Sir Hugh Dalrymple. 
A fourth commanding general was now appointed in the 
person of Sir John Moore, destined to lead the greater part 
of the British forces in Portugal against the emney. 
Immediately upon this appointment the greatest activity 
prevailed throughout every branch of the service. The 
new Commander of the forces, although anxiously employed 
in forming magazines and depdts and organising the whole 
material of the army, yet appeared to be continually riding 
through our ranks or inspecting the different regiments. 
I recollect that the 28th Regiment were inspected the day 
following the one originally appointed, in consequence of 
the general not being able to attend. We stood one thou- 
sand and ninety-nine bayonets, officers and sergeants not 
included. Had we been inspected the previous day, we 


should have stood exactly eleven hundred bayonets, but 
one man was sent to hospital the night previous. After 
the inspection was over, Sir John Moore called the captains 
and officers commanding companies together, whom he thus 
addressed : " Gentlemen, what I have to say to you is 
pleasant. I have never seen a body of men in finer order 
than your regiment ; they appear more like the picture of 
a battalion than actual men bearing arms." Then address- 
ing Captain (now Colonel Sir Frederick) Stovin, he 
said : " The fame of your Grenadier company has gone 
through the army ; but, much as I expected from report, 
I am more pleased at its appearance than I could have 



A LL arrangements being now in a state of forwardness, 
-^--^ the army broke up the camp of Queluz about tbe 
middle of October and, following different routes and moving 
by regiments in succession, marched for Spain ; and an 
army in better heart, finer condition, or more gallantly 
commanded were never produced by any nation upon earth. 
We, the 28th Eegiment, marched on the 14th. I recollect 
the date well, being on that day appointed to the light 

To attempt to give a daily account of our march to 
Salamanca is beyond the scope of my memory ; and even 
though I should be capable of so doing, it would be attended 
with little more interest than mentioning the names of the 
different towns and villages through which we passed or 
describing the houses in which we were lodged at night. 
We marched with the headquarters. On the route through 
Guarda one battery of artillery accompanied us, whom 
Captain Wilmot commanded. They consisted of six light 
six-pounders ; and even these we had the greatest difficulty 
in getting through the pass of Villavelha. The first gun 
conveyed across had two drag-ropes attached, and to resist 
its rapidity while being trailed downhill these ropes were 
held by as many soldiers as the short and frequent turning 
of this zigzag descent would permit ; yet their resistance 


was scarcely sufficient to preserve the guns from rolling 
over the precipice. This in a great measure arose from 
Captain Wilmot having opposed locking any of the wheels, 
alleging that by so doing the carriages would suffer materi- 
ally, and consequently become unserviceable much sooner. 

Trailing the guns down in this manner was excessively 
laborious to the soldiers, and not unattended with danger. 
Several men who could not get clear of the ropes on 
suddenly coming to the sharp turns were absolutely dragged 
through the walls which flanked the road. The resistance 
necessary to check the velocity of even these light guns 
must have been very great, for I can attest that there was 
not one soldier of the 28th Light Company who had heels 
to his shoes after the drag. They were a good deal shaken 
and much dissatisfied, considering it a great hardship to 
have a pair of shoes destroyed in one day without being 
allowed any remuneration. 

Captain Wilmot, having witnessed the danger in which 
the first gun frequently was of being precipitated over the 
flanking wall and consequently lost, as well as the great 
risk to which the men were exposed, and being still 
unwilling to lock the wheels, determined to try the bed 
of the Tagus. In pursuance of this project he had the 
horses of two or three guns harnessed to one gun at a 
time, and in this manner passed the remainder of the guns 
in succession across the stream, cheered by the whole of 
the men during the entire operation, which lasted a con- 
siderable time, and was of course attended with much 
fatigue and exertion. The guns during their passage were 
accompanied by a part of the soldiers to give what assist- 
ance lay in their power, in case of meeting obstacles in the 
bed of the river. The horses were immersed above their 
bellies and the men up to their middles ; yet Captain 


Wilmot never quitted the stream, crossing and re-crossing 
until all tlie guns were safely landed. The principal 
difficulty arose in drawing them up the opposite bank, but 
this being an affair of mere physical force all obstacles 
were soon overcome. After this, our first check, we moved 
on cheerily, as is usual with soldiers, who never dwell upon 
hardships a moment longer than their continuance. 

Our next great annoyance, and I may add suffering, was 
caused by the inclemency of the weather. On the day upon 
which we marched into Guarda the 5th Regiment lost five 
men and the 28th Regiment two men, who actually perished 
on the road in consequence of heavy rain which incessantly 
fell during the whole day. A person who has never been 
out of England can scarcely imagine its violence. Let 
him fancy himself placed under a shower-bath with the 
perforations unusually large, the water not propelled 
divergingly with a light sprinkling, but large globular 
drops pouring down vertically and descending in such rapid 
succession as to give the appearance rather of a torrent 
than a shower ; he may then form an idea of the rainy 
season which drenches Portugal during the autumnal 
months. Exposed to such rain, we marched many miles to 
gain the top of the hill upon which stands Guarda. Having 
at length performed this harassing march, the regiments 
(I think three in number) were lodged in large convents 
situated in the immediate suburbs, which had been prepared 
for our reception. Immense fires were soon lit, and the men 
commenced first wringing and then drying their clothing. 
Rations were delivered as soon as possible, and the glad 
tidings of a double allowance of rum loudly rang through- 
out the holy aisles. 

The soldiers now began to forget what they had suffered 
during the day. The business of cooking went on cheer- 




fully, but from the blazing fires which illumined the 
convent much precaution was necessary to preserve the 
building from being burned. The men being made as 
comfortable as circumstances would permit, and there 
being no accommodation for the officers in the convent, 
they were as usual billeted upon private houses in the 
town, each regiment leaving an officer in the convent to 
preserve good order, for after hardship, as after victory, 
soldiers are prone to commit excesses. 

In walking through the town next day but one (we 
halted there two days), I met the Commander of the forces, 
accompanied by two of his staff and one orderly dragoon. 
He rode to and fro in the street several times, evidently 
in search of something. As I stood still, as if to ask 
if I could be of any use, Sir John Moore rode up and 
asked me if the men's clothes and appointments were 
yet dry. I replied that they were not perfectly so, but 
would be in the course of the day. He expressed his 
satisfaction, adding : " You must march to-morrow at 
all events. I shall not ask about your arms or ammunition ; 
the 28th know their value too well to neglect them." He 
then said that his horse had just lost a shoe, for which he 
was in search. I also searched for a moment, but to no 
purpose. The general then remarking that no doubt he 
should find some place along the road to have his horse 
shod, rode away. I mention this trifling circumstance, 
otherwise uninteresting, because it illustrates Sir John 
Moore's constant habit of speaking to every officer of his 
army whom he met, whatever his rank, asking such 
questions as tended to elicit useful information, and in the 
most good-humoured and courteous manner making such 
remarks as indirectly called forth the most strenuous 
endeavours of all to a full discharge of their duties. But 


when lie considered a more direct interference requisite, 
lie was prompt in showing it without partiality and regard- 
less of persons. An instance of this took place a few days 
previous to our breaking up the camp at Queluz. On 
meeting an old officer, with whom he was long acquainted 
and who was his countryman, he asked him familiarly how 
he did. The officer answered, in the manner which men 
in good health usually do, that he was perfectly well, and 
he added : " I am totally at your Excellency's service. I 
have nothing to do." He hinted perhaps that a staff 
employment would not be unacceptable nor injurious to the 
service. Sir John Moore politely bowed. Next day com- 
manding officers were called upon to use every exertion 
necessary to bring their regiments fully equipped into 
the field with as little delay as possible, and to see that 
every officer under their respective commands was employed 
with equal diligence as themselves, which he feared was 
not the case, for no later than the day before a major of 
a regiment told him that he had nothing to do. He there- 
fore held commanding officers responsible that the particu- 
lar duties of every officer should be clearly and distinctly 
pointed out ; and he added that this would forward the 
service and prevent discontent from want of employment. 
I was acquainted with the individual alluded to, a gallant 
officer who has since met the fate of a soldier in the field 
of glory. 

After two days' halt at Guarda we continued our march 
without any other interruption than the falling waters, and 
having traversed Portugal, we on November 10th marched 
into Fuentes de Onoro. This was the first Spanish town 
we entered, and here we halted for the night. 

Villa Formosa, distant about two miles from Fuentes 
de Onoro, is the nearest frontier town to Spain on that 


road. The two nations are here divided by a rivulet so 
inconsiderable that upon its being pointed out, many of 
us stood over it with one foot in Portugal and the other in 
Spain. But even if this national boundary had not been 
pointed out, we should have immediately discovered upon 
entering the town that we were no longer in Portugal. 
The difference was very striking and perceptible even in 
the first Spanish glance which we encountered. During 
our march through Portugal we mixed with people who in 
a manner looked up to us and showed rather a grovelling 
deference. We now encountered a nation whose inhabitants 
never regarded others as in any way superior to themselves. 
Their greatest condescension in meeting any other people 
was to consider them as equals ; superiority they denied 
to all. The Portuguese showed us the greatest hospitality 
arid in the civilest manner ; yet their hospitality appeared 
the result of some obligation or constraint, not unmixed 
with gratitude. The Spaniards, though equally generous, 
were proudly hospitable. There hospitality was sincere, 
and not marked or rendered cold by ostentation ; it 
appeared to be spontaneously offered, as mere matter of 
course, unconnected with other sentiments, disdaining any 
consideration beyond the act itself. The Portuguese, in 
his conversation, studied more the smooth arrangement 
of his specious words than the laudable sentiments by 
which they should be dictated. He endeavoured by many 
a ludicrous gesture and grotesque posture to add that 
force to his subject which was wanting in matter ; and 
whatever might be the result he always retired fawningly. 
The Spaniard, invariably polite in his language and 
dignified in attitude, solely depended on the soundness 
of his argument, and talking looked you full in the face. 
His words clearly expressed his thoughts, and he felt 


hurt if obliged to repeat ; and lie concluded his discourse 
with a graceful inclination of his person. The Portuguese 
are not so fine or so handsome a race as the Spaniards, 
and in figure they are far inferior. The females have 
all black eyes (lampblack, if you please), but dim and 
dusky when compared to the brilliant black eyes of the 
Spanish fair. 

We passed the night at Fuentes de Oiioro with mingled 
feelings of annoyance and pleasure, annoyed at not being 
able to join the inhabitants in conversation, which in some 
degree we could do in Portugal. I felt quite in the back- 
ground, for from what little of the Portuguese language 
I was enabled to pick up during the march, I had acted 
as a kind of regimental interpreter. Pleasure we experi- 
enced at the wonderful contrast between the people whom 
we had just quitted and our present hosts, entirely in 
favour of the latter ; and although we did not understand 
their language, yet it fell so melodiously on the ear that 
I for one could never after sufier the Portuguese dialect. 
I remembered how Charles V. said, or was reputed to 
have said, that whenever he wished to address his God 
he always did so in the Spanish language. 

Next day we marched to Ciudad Rodrigo, or the city 
of Don Roderick, the last of the Visigoth monarchs who 
reigned in Spain. Here I was billeted at the house of 
an hidalgo or nobleman, who treated me most hospitably, 
and ordered my baggage-pony to be put into his private 
stable. But the hatred which existed between the 
Spaniards and Portuguese seemed to prevail even among 
their animals, for my unfortunate horse was so kicked and 
maltreated that, after endeavouring to carry my baggage 
to S. Martin del Rio, where we halted for the night, 
the poor animal dropped down dead. Besides the in- 


convenience which his loss caused me, I regretted hi& 
death very much. I purchased him at Queluz, near 
Lisbon, and he always followed me through the camp,, 
keeping up with my pace like a dog. 

On our next day's march we again had some work with 
the artillery. The bridge over the Huelva was too narrow 
for the guns ; it was considered that too much time 
would be occupied in marching over it ; therefore in 
courtesy it was left for the baggage animals. As we had 
become partly amphibious by our aquatic march through 
Portugal, and being now drenched by the incessant fall 
of rain, we forded the river, immersed up to our hips 
and exposed at the same time to a heavy shower. This 
operation performed, we pushed forward at a hasty pace 
to the town not far distant from the bridge. Having here 
piled our arms, we returned to the stream to aid the 
artillery, and hauled the guns safely across, notwithstand- 
ing the depth and rapidity of the current, now literally 
a torrent. Under the circumstances this duty was ex- 
cessively fatiguing and harassing ; but the indefatigable 
zeal and anxiety which Captain Wilmot showed during 
the whole of the march to bring his guns and horses 
perfect into action, induced every individual willingly to 
come forward and put his shoulder to the wheel. 

The next day's march brought us to the celebrated city 
of Salamanca. Our entrance into this city was attended 
with great excitement. It was the goal for which we 
started from Queluz camp, and whenever any unpleasant 
circumstance occurred daring the march, Salamanca was 
loudly vociferated by every lip to cheer us on. Here it 
was that we expected to join the main body of our 
cavalry and artillery, who, in consequence of the im- 
practicability of moving them by any other road, were^ 


with four regiments of infantry, the whole amounting to 
about six thousand men, marched through Alemtejo and 
Spanish Estremadura under the command of Sir John 

In this place we were in the immediate neighbourhood 
of foes, with whom we so ardently desired to measure 
swords. The ardour was equal on either side. The French, 
flushed with recent victories obtained in Italy Germany 
and Spain, felt anxious to display their vaunted prowess, 
national flexibility in manoeuvre, and tactical experience 
gained by all, enabling each individual to act independently 
when deemed necessary. The British, on the other hand, 
wdth full confidence in the result whenever they came 
in contact with their old foes, were desirous to prove that 
though partially broken they never would bend ; and, 
proud of their ignorance of trifling detail and spurning 
individual self-sufficiency, were always determined to flght 
to the last on the ground where they stood. They 
restrained even their natural tendency to rush forward 
from a full confidence in the judgment of their general, 
who would move them at the right moment. 

At length Sir John Hope arrived at Alba de Tormes 
^thin a few leagues of us, on December 5th. 



TTTE were now in active preparation for a march, 
^^ but whether to be led back to Portugal or 
forward to Valladolid not a soul in the army could tell. 
All our movements depended on the information received 
from the Spaniards, which to a tittle always proved to 
be false ; and if we had been guided by it, although it 
frequently passed through official English authorities, the 
British forces in Spain must have been lost. 

The army now underwent a partial remodelling. A corps 
of reserve were formed, composed of select troops. They 
consisted of the 20th, 28th, 52nd, 91st, and 95th (Rifles) 
Regiments. The 20th and 52nd Regiments formed the 1st 
Brigade, commanded by General Anstruther ; the 2nd 
Brigade consisted of the 28th, 91st, and 95th Regiments, 
commanded by General Disney ; the whole were under the 
orders of General Paget. 

All being prepared for a move, the British army com- 
menced their advance from Salamanca on December 11th, 
with intention of marching direct to Valladolid ; but on 
the arrival at headquarters at Alaejos, on the 13th, an 
intercepted despatch from the Prince of Neufchatel to the 
Duke of Dalmatia was brought to the general. These 
despatches were of such a nature as to induce our general 
to deviate somewhat from the route intended. Leaving 



Valladolid more to our right, our headquarters were 
removed to Toro. 

On the night of the 14th General Charles Stuart, with a 
detachment of the 18th Dragoons, surprised a detachment 
of the enemy, consisting of fifty infantry and thirty cavalry, 
cutting down or taking prisoners almost all of them. One 
dragoon who escaped carried the report of the destruction 
of the detachment, and was scarcely credited by General 
Franceschi, who commanded about four hundred cavalry 
at Valladolid ; for previous to this surprise the French 
were fortunately in total ignorance of our vicinity, reason- 
ably concluding that by all the rules of war we were in 
full retreat towards Portugal. 

The reserve, in the meantime, arrived at Toro, where the 
advanced guard of General Baird's corps, consisting of 
the cavalry under the command of Lord Paget, joined Sir 
John Moore's army. 

It now being evident that after the surprise of their 
outpost at Rueda the enemy could no longer be ignorant of 
our advanced movements, Sir John Moore pushed on his 
columns as fast as the severity of the weather would 
permit. On the 16th the reserve were at Puebla, on the 
17th at Villapando. On the 18th headquarters were at 
Castro Nuevo. On the 19th the reserve continued their 
march, and on the 20th reached Santarbas. On this day 
the whole of the army were united, and so far concentrated 
as shelter and deep snow would permit. The weather was 
excessively severe, and the flat bleak country could furnish 
but little fuel. 

Lord Paget, being informed that General Debelle, with 
from six to seven hundred dragoons, was in the town of 
Sahagun, marched on the night of the 20th, with the 10th 
and 15th Hussars, from the different small villages where 


they were posted in front of the army at Mayorga. The 
10th marched directly for the town, and the 15th led by 
Lord Paget endeavoured to turn it by the right and thus 
cut off the enemy's retreat ; but his advance was unfortun- 
ately discovered by a patrol, and the French had time to 
form on the outside of the town before the 15th could get 
round. When therefore his lordship arrived at the rear 
of the town about daybreak, with four hundred of the 
15th (the 10th not being as yet come up), he discovered a 
line of six hundred cavalry in a field close to the town and 
prepared to oppose him. They were drawn up in rear of a 
ravine which protected their front from being charged. 
But in those days the superior numbers or strength of 
position of the French cavalry had very little influence 
over our dragoons. After manoeuvring a very short time, 
each party endeavouring to gain the flank of their opponent, 
Lord Paget charged with his wonted vigour, broke the 
enemy's line, and chased them off the field. The result of 
this gallant affair was a loss on the enemy's side of twenty 
men killed, two lieutenant-colonels, eleven other officers, 
and one hundred and fifty troopers prisoners ; while the 
loss on our side amounted only to six men killed and from 
fifteen to twenty wounded. 

Continuing our advance, headquarters were established 
at Sahagun on the 21st, and on the same day the reserve 
marched to Grajal del Campo. In our present cantonments 
the British army were within a day's march of the enemy 
posted at Saldaiia and along the Carrion. Such close 
neighbourhood braced every nerve for deeds of arms. Our 
thoughts, which heretofore dwelt upon the sparkling eyes, 
beautiful faces and splendid figures of the Spanish fair 
were now totally engrossed by the veteran soldiers of 
Napoleon. Love yielded to war ; yet the flame which 



animated our breasts remained, its ardour ever increasing 
as the object in view became more glorious. 

On the 22nd the whole army halted to refresh the 
troops, to put the guns in proper order, and, what was 
of still greater consequence, to repair the men's shoes, 
which were seriously damaged during our eleven days' 
march over rugged roads covered with frost and snow. 
Our reserve supplies had not yet come up. These prepara- 
tions were diligently carried on during the day and early 
part of the ensuing night, it being intended that on the 
next day we should march against the enemy. The 
Commander of the forces, however, calculated that by 
commencing his march in the morning we should approach 
the enemy early enough to be discovered, but too late to 
attack ; and that consequently we should be compelled to 
halt in the snow until daybreak enabled us to see what 
we had to do. A night attack may perhaps succeed ; but 
the exact position of the party to be assaulted must be 
thoroughly ascertained previous to making the attack. 
We possessed no such information ; no two reports ever 
agreed as to the enemy's position or strength. For these 
reasons the march of the troops was deferred until the 
evening. Marching during the night, however severe the 
weather, was far preferable to a freezing halt in the snow, 
and the men would be in much better plight to attack 
the enemy at daybreak on the morning of the 24th ; and, in 
fact, no time would be lost, for had we marched on the 
morning of the 23rd instead of the evening, still the attack 
could not have taken place before the morning of the 24th. 

In pursuance of this plan, orders were received at Grajal 
del Campo early on the morning of the 23rd directing 
that the reserve should march that evening on the road 
towards the Carrion, indicating the point of junction with 


the rest of the army, and there halt until the headquarters 
should arrive. On receipt of these instructions, Genera] 
Paget used every endeavour to induce the men to lie down 
and take repose, exhorting the officers to keep the soldiers 
as much as possible in their billets, but, without issuing 
finy orders on the subject, to tell them that the general's 
anxiety arose in consequence of a long march which was 
to take place that night. We (the reserve) therefore 
moved forward that evening about four o'clock from Grajal 
del Campo in light marching order, on our way towards 
the Carrion. 

After proceeding some hours, we halted not long after 
dark. The whole country was deeply covered with snow, 
and the sprightly national carols customary on the 
approach of Christmas were changed for a cold and silent 
night march to meet our national foes ; yet no hearts ever 
beat lighter in the social enjoyment of the former than 
ours did at what we confidently anticipated would be the 
result of the latter. But cruel necessity required that we 
should be grievously disappointed. After our halt, which 
took place at the point destined for our junction with the 
other column, had continued for two hours, conjecture 
became various as to the cause of their delay. We were 
first told that it was to give the artillery, which rolled 
heavily over the snow, time to come up ; subsequently 
we were informed that the Marquis of Romana either 
mistook or wilfully failed in his engagements to co-operate, 
and that the attack must consequently be postponed. 
Thenceforward a hatred and contempt of the Spaniards 
in arms filled the breast of every British soldier. This 
feeling was renewed at Talavera and confirmed at Barossa, 
and for similar causes was kept alive so long as a British 
soldier remained in the Peninsula. 


The report relative to Romana was not, however, in 
this instance strictly a fact ; for he actually did move 
forward from Leon to Mancilla with six or seven thousand 
half-starved and half-naked, wretched troops, having pre- 
viously left his artillery in the rear. The true cause of 
our halt and subsequent retreat was Sir John Moore having 
received information from Romana, as well as from others 
in whose accuracy he placed more reliance, that two 
hundred thousand enemies were put in motion against him. 
The British general that night commanded twenty-three 
thousand men ; Soult, within a day's march of his front, 
commanded twenty thousand men ; Napoleon, with fifty 
thousand of the Imperial Guards marching or rather flying 
from Madrid, was fast closing upon him and making rapid 
strides to cut oif his only line of retreat : thus he was 
placed in the immediate vicinity of seventy thousand hardy 
veterans — more than triple his numbers. In this statement 
Ney's corps are not included, although within two marches 
of Soult, with orders to press forward. Under such cir- 
cumstances there could be no hesitation how to act. A 
movement on Corunna was decided upon. 

The information just mentioned relative to the movements 
of the enemj' against the British army was received at 
headquarters (Sahagun) about six o'clock in the evening 
of the 23rd, in time to enable the Commander of the forces 
to countermand the forward march of the troops stationed 
there ; but as it was too late to prevent the forward march 
of the reserve, orders were sent to the place intended as 
the point of rendezvous directing their return to Grajal 
del Campo, where we arrived on the morning of the 
24th. There we halted the remainder of that day to get 
ready our heavy baggage (for we had moved in light 
marching order the previous night) and to give a day's 


start to the leading columns, Sir David Baird's and General 
Hope's divisions which had marched that morning, the 
former for Valencia, the latter towards Benevente. 

On the 25th the reserve, accompanied by the light brigade, 
and covered by the cavalry, marched under the immediate 
orders of Sir John Moore, and, following the track of Hope's 
division, crossed the Esla by the bridge of Castro Gonzolo 
on the 27th. Thence we moved on to Benevente, distant 
about four miles. After passing Mayorga on the 26th, 
Lord Paget, with two squadrons of the 10th Hussars, 
charged a large detachment of the enemy's dragoons, 
strongly posted on a rising ground, and, notwithstanding 
the strength of their position and great superiority of 
numbers, he killed twenty and took a hundred prisoners. 

The destruction of the bridge having commenced, and 
to favour this arduous undertaking, as well as to cover the 
passage of the cavalry, who had not as yet come up. General 
Robert Craufurd, with the 2nd Light Brigade and two 
guns, took up a position on the left bank, which from its 
boldness commanded the bridge and both banks, being 
thus from necessity left on the enemy's side of the stream, 
the right bank flat and low offering no vantage ground. 
The cavalry having crossed on the afternoon of the 27th, 
the destruction of the bridge commenced, which occupied 
half the light brigade until late on the night of the 28th, 
the other half being in constant skirmish with the advancing 
enemy. The bridge being constructed of such solid 
material, the greatest exertions were required to penetrate 
the masonry ; and from the hurried manner and sudden 
necessity of the march from Sahagun, there had been no 
time to send an engineer forward to prepare for the under- 
taking. These circumstances much retarded the work, and 
an incessant fall of heavy rain and sleet rendered the whole 


operation excessively laborious and fatiguing. To add to 
this, Napoleon, having been informed of our movement 
towards Valladolid, was determined to crush us for daring 
to advance ; while Soult, now aware of our retiring, was 
resolved to punish us, elate at our not having previously 
punished him, which we most certainly should have done 
on Christmas eve had it not been for the astounding 
information received by Sir John Moore late on the 
evening of the 23rd, to the effect that his little army were 
then the focus upon which two hundred thousand French 
troops were directing their hasty strides. Those two con- 
summate generals. Napoleon and Soalt, pushed on their 
advanced guards with such celerity that Soult's light 
troops and the chasseurs of the Imperial Guard came in 
sight whilst our rearguard were crossing the Esla. 

During the evening of the 27th and the whole of the 28th 
continued skirmishes took place in the vicinity of the bridge, 
and the enemy kept up a desultory fire along the banks. 
The Imperial chasseurs, flushed with the capture of a few 
women and stragglers, whom they picked up in the plain, 
had the hardihood more than once to gallop up close to the 
bridge, with the intention no doubt of disturbing the men 
employed there ; but they always retired with increased 
celerity, leaving not a few behind to serve as a warning-off 
to others. 

On the night of the 28th, the preparations at the bridge 
being completed, the troops retired. Fortunately it was 
dark rainy and tempestuous ; and so the light brigade 
passed unobserved over the bridge to the friendly side in 
profound silence, except for the roaring of the waters and 
the tempest, and without the slightest opposition. Immedi- 
ately on our gaining the right bank the mine was sprung 
with fullest effect, blowing up two arches, together with the 


buttress by wbich they had been supported, and awakening 
the French to a sense of their shameful want of vigilance 
and enterprise. Had they kept a strict watch, and risked 
an assault during the passage, which they would have been 
fully borne out in doing from the number of their troops 
already in the plain, and which were hourly increasing, the 
light division would have been perilously situated ; for 
Craufurd had passed over the guns some time previously, 
and had immediately after cut one of the arches completely 
through, so that the men were obliged to cross over a 
narrow strip formed of planks not very firmly laid, while 
the impetuous torrent, now swollen above its banks from 
the constant heavy rain and snow, roaring rather through 
than beneath the bridge, threatened to carry away both 
men and planks. All being thus happily terminated, the 
troops moved into Benevente ; but Craufurd's brigade were 
so excessively fatigued, having worked incessantly and 
laboured severely for nearly two days and two nights, their 
clothes drenched through the whole time, that they could 
scarcely keep tlieir eyes open. 



npHERE was now a large force suddenly collected in 
-^ Benevente, which under any circumstances causes 
much confusion, but more particularly at that moment, 
when our chief employment was the destruction of stores. 
Nevertheless the duty was performed with extraordinary 
forbearance on the part of the men, particularly when it 
is considered that the Spanish authorities, either from 
disinclination to serve the British or from a dread of 
the enemy, who, as they knew, must occupy the town in 
a very short time, took no care whatever to supply our 
troops regularly with provisions, or indeed with anything 
which we required. The same feelings pervaded all ranks 
of the inhabitants ; and although with payment in our 
hands we sought for bread, wine, and animals to convey 
our baggage, yet nothing could be procured. The magis- 
trates either hid themselves or retired ; the inhabitants 
denied everything of which we stood most in need, 
and whilst all the shops were open in Madrid and in all 
other towns through which the French army passed or 
which they held, every door was shut against the British 
army. It seldom fell to the lot of the reserve to sleep 
in a house during the movement to Corunna, but in those 
which we passed whilst marching along every article of 
food was hid with which the enemy were subsequently 



supplied in abundance ; and in no part of Spain was this 
want of good feeling towards the British more apparent 
than in Benevente, a specimen of which will be seen in the 
following anecdote : — 

After the destruction of Gonzolo bridge, when the 52nd 
Regiment marched into Benevente, though benumbed with 
wet and cold, yet they could not procure a single pint 
of wine for the men, either for love or money, or for mere 
humanity which under such circumstances would have 
moved the breast of most men to an act of charitable 
generosity. During the anxious pleading to the feelings 
and the dogged denial, a sergeant of his company came 
to Lieutenant Love, of the above-mentioned regiment, 
informing him that in an outhouse belonging to the convent 
in which they were billeted he discovered a wall recently 
built up, by which he conjectured that some wine might 
have been concealed. Love instantly waited on the friars, 
whom he entreated to let the men have some wine, at 
the same time offering prompt payment. The holy fat 
father abbot constantly declared, by a long catalogue 
of saints, that there was not a drop in the convent. 
Love, although a very young man at the time, was not 
easily imposed upon. Reconnoitring the premises, he had 
a rope tied round his body, and in this manner got himself 
lowered through a sort of skylight down into the outhouse, 
where the sergeant had discovered the fresh masonry 
through a crevice in the strongly barricaded door. After 
his landing, the rope was drawn up, and two men of the 
company followed in the same manner. They fortunately 
found a log of wood, which, aided by the ropes, they con- 
verted into a battering ram, and four or five strong percus- 
sions well directed breached the newly built wall. Now 
rushing through the breach, they found the inner chamber to 


be the very sanctum sanctorum of Bacchus. Wine sufficient 
was found to give every man in the company a generous 
allowance. The racy juice was contained in a large vat, 
and while they were issuing it out in perfect order to 
the drenched and shivering soldiers, the fat prior suddenly 
made his appearance through a trap-door, and laughingly 
requested that at least he might have one drink before 
all was consumed. Upon this one of the men remarked, 
*' By Jove ! when the wine was his, he was damned stingy 
about it ; but now that it is ours, we will show him what 
British hospitality is, and give him his fill." So saying, 
he seized the holy fat man, and chucked him head foremost 
into the vat ; and had it not been for Love and some 
other officers, who by this time had found their way into 
the cellar, the Franciscan worshipper of Bacchus would 
most probably have shared the fate of George Duke of 
Clarence, except that the wine was not Malmsey. 

This anecdote was told to me at the time by some 
officers of the 52nd. Then it was I had the pleasure 
of first making the acquaintance of Lieutenant Calvert of 
that regiment, long since lieutenant-colonel. This acquaint- 
ance was afterwards renewed under no ordinary circum- 
stances at the battle of Barossa. The anecdote was many 
years later confirmed by Love himself in the Island of Zante, 
where in 1836 he was quartered with the 73rd Regiment, 
of which he was lieutenant-colonel at the time when I was 
writing these Memoirs. I read him the whole of these 
Memoirs, and found his recollection of the campaign very 
interesting. The dates of his commissions and mine in 
the respective ranks of ensign, lieutenant, and captain 
were within a few months of each other ; but he became 
lieutenant-colonel long before I retired from the service 
still as captain. Yet he was an old soldier at the time ; 



and if gallant conduct on all occasions which offered during 
a long career, devoted attachment to his profession and 
ardent zeal to promote its honour and glory can give a 
claim to advancement, by none was it better merited. The 
only extraordinary circumstance attending his promotion 
was that he obtained it through personal merit. 

On the 28th the divisions of Generals Hope and Fraser 
moved out of Benevente for Astorga ; the reserve and light 
brigade remained until the 29th. On that morning the 
enemy's cavalry, commanded by Napoleon's favourite 
General, Lefebre Desnouettes, forded the Esla, and as 
they were taken for the advance of a large force, the reserve 
and light brigades were ordered instantly to retire on the 
road leading to Astorga. Although General Stuart, who 
took command of our cavalry piquets, gallantly resisted 
Lefebre, and every step was met with a blow, yet the 
French general sternly moved forward along the plain 
which skirted Benevente. Lord Paget, who viewed from 
a distance what passed at the extremity of the plain, in 
courtesy allowed the French general to advance until it 
became too dangerous for his troops to proceed farther ; 
then, at the head of the 10th Hussars, whom he had 
previously formed under cover of some houses, he 
rode furiously at the enemy, who, wheeling round, were 
pursued into the very bed of the Esla, where "many a 
deadly blow was dealt," and it was shown once again that 
British steel was not to be resisted when wielded by British 
soldiers determined to vindicate the superiority of their 
national productions. 

On gaining the opposite bank of the river the enemy 
immediately formed on rising ground which overlooked 
the stream, and displayed symptoms of returning to the 
fight ; but our artillery having interfered with some well- 


directed shrapnel sliots, the foe retired in disgust and pride, 
leaving their gallant and accomplished general behind to 
refine our manners, if not our steel. On his arrival in 
England he was sent to Bath, where he showed with what 
facility a Frenchman can insinuate himself into society as 
a man of spirit and gallantry. 

Whilst our guns continued to fire upon the retreating 
enemy, the rearguard of the reserve were evacuating 
Benevente. During our march we were passed on the road 
by seventy or eighty dragoons of the Imperial Guard, 
together with their leader General Lefebre, who were made 
prisoners in the affair of the morning. The general looked 
fierce and bloody, from a wound which he received across 
the forehead while gallantly defending himself in the 
stream wherein he was taken. In this affair our dragoons 
suffered a loss of fifty men killed and wounded. The 
French left fifty-five killed and wounded on the field, and 
seventy officers and men prisoners, together with their 
general. It cannot be said that there was any disparity 
of force, for although in the commencement of the affair 
the French were far more numerous, yet towards the close 
the reverse was the case. 

We arrived at Labaneza that night, and next day marched 
into Astorga. Here we were crossed by the ragged, half- 
starved corps of Spaniards under the partial control of 
the Marquis of Romana, which circumstance not a little 
astonished us, as the marquis repeatedly promised Sir John 
Moore that he would retire into the Asturias. This un- 
expected interruption to our march was attended with the 
most serious consequences to our army, and from it may 
be dated the straggling which soon commenced. The 
Spaniards, shivering from partial nakedness and voracious 
from continued hunger, committed the greatest disorders 



in search of food and raiment. Their bad example was 
eagerly followed by the British soldiers in their insati- 
able thirst for wine ; and all the exertions, even of the 
Commander of the forces personally, were not of mnch 
avail. We could not destroy the stores, which had to be 
abandoned. The civil authorities rather impeded than 
assisted us in procuring the means of transport ; nor could 
rations be regularly served out to the men sufficient for a 
two days' march. The troops of the two nations seemed 
envious of each other, lest the depredations of one should 
give it what they in their blind excesses considered an 
advantage over the other. They prowled about the town 
the greater part of the night, and when they attempted 
to take repose there arose a contention for choice of 
quarters ; so that our march was commenced next morning 
without the men having taken useful nourishment or 
necessary repose. 

It was on that night which we passed at Astorga that 
I discovered a circumstance of which I had not been 
previously aware — namely, that in the light company of 
the 28th Kegiment there was a complete and well-organised 
band of ventriloquists who could imitate any species of 
bird or animal so perfectly that it was scarcely possible 
to discover the difference between the imitation and the 
natural tone of the animal imitated. Soon after we con- 
trived to get into some kind of a quarter, the men being 
in the same apartment with the officers owing to the crowd 
and confusion, a soldier named Savage, immediately on 
entering the room, began to crow like a cock, and then 
placed his ear close to the keyhole of a door leading into 
another apartment, which was locked. After remaining 
in this attentive position for some moments, he removed 
to another part of the room and repeated his crowing. 


I began to think that the man was drunk or insane, 
never before having perceived in him the slightest want 
of proper respect for his superiors. Upon my asking him 
what he meant by such extraordinary conduct in the 
presence of his officers, he with a smile replied, " I believe 
we have them, sir." This seemingly unconnected reply 
confirmed me in the opinion I had formed of his mental 
derangement, the more particularly as his incoherent 
reply was instantly followed by another crow ; this was 
answered apparently in the same voice, but somewhat 
fainter. Savage then jumped up, crying out, ^' Here they 
are ! " and insisted upon having the door opened ; and when 
this was reluctantly done by the inhabitants of the house, 
a fine cock followed by many hens came strutting into 
the room with all the pomp of a sultan attended by his 
many queens. The head of the polygamist, together with 
those of his superfluous wives, was soon severed from his 
body, notwithstanding the loud remonstrances of the former 
owners, who, failing in their entreaties that the harem 
should be spared, demanded remuneration ; but whether 
the men paid for what they had taken like grovelling 
citizens, or ofi'ered political reasons as an apology like 
great monarchs, I now cannot call to mind. But however 
the affair may have been arranged, the act was venial, 
for had the fowls been spared by our men they must have 
fallen into the stomachs of our enemies next day; and 
it is not one of the least important duties of a retreating 
army to carry away or destroy anything which may be 
useful to their pursuers, however severely the inhabitants 
may suffer. 

During the night I was awakened by the ventriloquists, 
who, with appropriate harmony, were loudly bleating, 
cackling, crowing, cooing, lowing — in fact, imitating every 


species of animal ; so that at the moment I awoke I fancied 
myself in an extensive menagerie. Indeed, the powerful 
effect of their music on many occasions during the retreat 
came to my knowledge ; and so judiciously did they exert 
their talents that animals of all descriptions came frisking 
to their feet, offering a practical elucidation of the powers 
attributed to Orpheus when round him danced the brutes. 

On the last day of 1808 we marched from Astorga with 
more headaches than full stomachs ; and the light brigade 
having moved on the route to Vigo, the rearguard fell 
exclusively to the reserve during the remainder of the 
retreat. The distance we had to move on that day being 
short, we continued until late to destroy stores and such 
field equipments as, for want of animals, could not be carried 
away ; and after eight or nine miles' march we arrived in 
the evening at a small village called Cambarros. At 
this place our evil genius, the Spaniards, again crossed us, 
and the scenes at Astorga were partially renewed ; but 
as only the sick and stragglers of the Spanish army were 
there, the contention was but little — in fact, their miserable 
and forlorn condition called forth compassion rather than 
other sentiments. Two or three cartloads of them being 
put down at an outhouse where I was on piquet with the 
light company, we took them in. Such misery I never 
beheld, half-naked, half-starved, and deprived of both 
medicine and medical attendance. We administered a 
little of our general cordial — rum ; yet three or four of 
these wretches expired that night close to a large fire 
which we lit in the middle of the floor. 

Our stay at Cambarros was but short, for scarcely had 
the men laid down to repose, which was much wanted in 
consequence of the manner in which they had passed the 
previous night, when some of our cavalry came galloping 


in, reporting that the enemy were advancing in force. We 
were immediately ordered to get under arms, and hurried 
to form outside the town on that part facing Bembibre. 
While we were forming a dragoon rode up, and an officer 
who being ill was in one of the light carts which attended 
the reserve, cried out, " Dragoon, what news ? " '' News, 
sir ? The only news I have for you is that unless you step 
out like soldiers, and don't wait to pick your steps like 
bucks in Bond Street of a Sunday with shoes and silk 
stockings, damn it ! you'll be all taken prisoners." ** i^ray, 
who the devil are you ? " came from the cart. " I am 
Lord Paget," said the dragoon ; " and pray, sir, may 1 ask 

who you are ? " "I am Captain D n, of the 28 th 

Regiment, my lord." " Come out of that cart directly," 
said his lordship ; " march with your men, sir, and keep up 
their spirits by showing them a good example." The 
captain scrambled out of the cart rear, face foremost, and 
from slipping along the side of the cart and off the wheels, 
and from the sudden jerks which he made to regain his 
equilibrium, displayed all the ridiculous motions of a 
galvanised frog. Although he had previously suffered a 
good deal from both fatigue and illness, yet the circum- 
stance altogether caused the effect desired by his lordship, 
for the whole regiment were highly diverted by the scene 
until we arrived at Bembibre, and it caused many a hearty 
laugh during the remainder of the retreat. 

We arrived within a league of Bembibre at daybreak on 
the morning of January 1st, 1809, and were there halted 
at a difficult pass in the mountains to cut the road. It 
appeared that some of the leading divisions had already 
commenced this work ; spades, pickaxes, and such tools 
were found on the spot. We had not continued long at 
this employment when we were ordered to desist, since 




Bembibre was turned by the Foncevadon road, which joined 
that on which we were, not far from Calcabellos, and 
so the work was considered useless. This order was 
received with the greatest joy ; indeed, there was no duty 
which we would not more willingly perform than that of 
handling the pickaxe, and that too during a severe frost 
and after a long night march. We therefore joyfully 
moved on to Bembibre. 

On approaching this village, we discovered Sir David 
Baird's division, who had just left, and were proceeding 
on the road to Villa Franca. We now fully anticipated 
some repose, to which we thought ourselves entitled by 
our laborious occupation of destroying stores at Astorga 
the whole time we were there, and the long and severe 
night march which we had just terminated ; but we were 
sadly disappointed. The leading columns, well aware of the 
value and necessity of vigilance, although it was shame- 
fully neglected by themselves, left sufficient matter behind 
to prevent the reserve from sleeping too much ; and when 
we entered the town of Bembibre and expected to stretch 
our wearied limbs, we were ordered to pile arms and clear 
all the houses of the stragglers left behind. 

The scenes here presented can only be faintly imagined 
from the most faithful description which even the ablest 
writer could pen ; but little therefore can be expected from 
any attempt of mine to paint the scandal here presented 
by the British troops or the degrading scenes exhibited 
through their debauchery. Bembibre exhibited all the 
appearance of a place lately stormed and pillaged. Every 
door and window was broken, every lock and fastening 
forced. Rivers of wine ran through the houses and into 
the streets, where lay fantastic groups of soldiers (many of 
them with their firelocks broken), women, children, runaway 



Spaniards and muleteers, all apparently inanimate, except 
when here and there a leg or arm was seen to move, while 
the wine oozing from their lips and nostrils seemed the 
effect of gunshot wounds. Every floor contained the 
worshippers of Bacchus in all their different stages of 
devotion ; some lay senseless, others staggered ; there were 
those who prepared the libation by boring holes with their 
bayonets into the large wine vats, regardless of the quantity 
which flowed through the cellars and was consequently 
destroyed. The music was perfectly in character : savage 
roars announcing present hilarity were mingled with groans 
issuing from fevered lips disgorging the wine of yesterday ; 
obscenity was public sport. But these scenes are too 
disgusting to be dwelt upon. We were employed the 
greatest part of the day (January 1st, 1809,) in turning 
or dragging the drunken stragglers out of the houses into 
the streets and sending as many forward as could be moved. 
Our occupation next morning was the same ; yet little 
could be effected with men incapable of standing, much less 
of marching forward. At length the cavalry reporting the 
near approach of the enemy, and Sir John Moore dreading 
lest Napoleon's columns should intersect our line of march 
by pushing along the Foncevadon road, which joined our 
road not many miles in front of us, the reserve were ordered 
forward, preceded by the cavalry, and the stragglers were 
left to their fate. Here I must say that oar division, 
imbibing a good deal of the bad example and of the wine 
left behind by the preceding columns, did not march out 
of Bembibre so strong as when they entered it. 

We had proceeded but a short distance when the enemy's 
horsemen nearly approached the place ; and then it was 
that the apparently lifeless stragglers, whom no exertion 
of ours was sufficient to rouse from their torpor, startled at 


the immediate approach of danger, found the partial use 
of their limbs. The road instantly became thronged by 
them ; they reeled, staggered, and screaming threw down 
their arms. Frantic women held forth their babies, suing 
for mercy by the cries of defenceless innocence ; but all 
to no purpose. The dragoons of the polite and civilised 
nation advanced, and cut right and left, regardless of 
intoxication, age or sex. Drunkards, women and children 
were indiscriminately hewn down — a dastardly revenge for 
their defeat at Benevente ; but they dearly paid for their 
wanton cruelty when encountered next day at Calcabellos. 
The foe, rendered presumptuous by their easy victory gained 
over the defenceless stragglers, rode so close to our columns 
that that distinguished officer, Colonel Ross with his 
gallant 20th Regiment was halted and placed in an ambush, 
formed by the winding of the road round the slope of a 
hill which concealed them until nearly approached. The 
remainder of the reserve marched on and halted at a 
considerable distance. But the French were over cautious, 
and after a lapse of more than an hour, during which time 
many wounded stragglers joined the main body of the 
division, Colonel Ross was recalled, much disappointed by 
the enemy's declining to advance. He reluctantly joined 
the main body of the reserve, who immediately moved 
forward. Thus every means was used compatible with 
prudence to cover and protect the unworthy stragglers from 
Bembibre ; and great risk was run, for we did not feel 
ourselves secure until we passed the junction of the roads 
mentioned, not knowing what force might be pushing 
forward along the Foncevadon line. 

Continuing our march at a rather accelerated pace 
until we passed the junction, we arrived at Calcabellos 
about an hour before dark. 



rpHE Commander of the forces, with the main body of the 
-^ cavalry, had marched in the morning from Bembibre, 
and immediately on his arrival at Villa Franca used every 
endeavour to remedy and quell the disorders committed 
there. The disgraceful conduct which took place at 
Astorga and Bembibre was here perpetrated by the pre- 
ceding divisions. All the doors and windows were broken 
open, the stores robbed, and the commissaries so in- 
timidated as to be prevented from making any careful 
distribution of the provisions. One of the stragglers left 
behind had the hardihood, although knowing that the 
Commander of the forces was present, to break open and 
plunder a magazine in broad daylight ; but being taken 
in the act, he was ordered to be executed, and was shot in 
the market-place. 

After using every exertion to restore order and discipline, 
the general returned to Calcabellos, and met us just as 
we halted. We were immediately formed in contiguous 
close columns in a field by the road, when the Com- 
mander of the forces rode up and addressed us in the most 
forcible and pathetic manner. After dwelling on the 
outrageous disorders and want of discipline in the army, he 
concluded by saying : " And if the enemy are in possession 
of Bembibre, which I believe, they have got a rare prize. 



They have taken or cut to pieces many hundred drunken 
British cowards — for none but unprincipled cowards would 
get drunk in presence, nay, in the very sight of the enemies 
of their country ; and sooner than survive the disgrace 
of such infamous misconduct, I hope that the first cannon- 
ball fired by the enemy may take me in the head." Then 
turning to us, he added: "And you, 28th, are not what 
you used to be. You are not the regiment who to a 
man fought by my side in Egypt. If you were, no earthly 
temptation could even for an instant seduce one of you 
away from your colours." He then rode off and returned 
to Villa Franca. This feeling and pungent address made 
a deep impression on every individual present, as well 
officers as men ; but the feeling of remorse was but of 
short duration — future temptations brought on future 

Immediately on the departure of the General -in-chief 
General Paget placed the reserve in position, giving us 
to understand that our not being lodged in the village 
arose not from any necessity strictly military, but that 
it was entirely owing to our own misconduct. After the 
disgraceful scenes presented at Bembibre, it was not con- 
sidered safe to lodge the men in houses, more particularly 
as we could not tell at what hour, day or night the 
enemy's advancing columns might be upon us. A de- 
tachment of from three hundred to four hundred cavalry 
(the only ones left behind), together with about the same 
number of the 95th Regiment, were pushed forward about 
two miles upon the road leading to Bembibre, to watch 
any enemy coming thence or from Foncevadon. Late 
on this evening General Paget issued an order strongly 
censuring our past conduct, and stating that, although 
we committed fewer excesses and were guilty of fewer 


disorders than any other division of the army, and con- 
sequently had fewer stragglers, yet we were unworthy the 
proud situation which we held, and had forfeited the high 
honour conferred upon us when we were selected to lead 
into action and to cover the army when required. He 
added that every instance of drunkenness in the troops 
under present circumstances was compromising the honour 
of their country ; but that drunkenness in the reserve 
was wilfully betraying the lives of their comrades in arms 
and endangering the safety of the whole army. The 
reserve must be exemplary in their good conduct ; every 
soldier of which it is composed must consider himself 
at all times a sentinel at the post of danger, consequently 
at the post of honour. Orders were issued that no man 
was on any pretence whatever to enter the town without 
being accompanied by a non-commissioned officer, who 
was held strictly responsible for the due return of those 
committed to his charge. Parties were ordered frequently 
to patrol the town during the night, and make prisoners 
of any stragglers they should meet. 

Notwithstanding these orders, the moving appeal of 
General Paget, and the severe reproof so deservedly called 
forth from the Commander of the forces against the whole 
army, scarcely had darkness prevailed when stragglers 
from our position, with many who had escaped from 
Bembibre, continued their disorders and depredations, 
principally against the wine vats. Many were taken during 
the night breaking open doors and plundering cellars ; 
and two men were seized in the act of committing a 
more serious crime, that of robbing the person of an 

Early on the morning of the 3rd the reserve marched 
up towards the crown of a low hill, in front of Calcabellos 



on the Bembibre side. Here we halted, leaving so much of 
it above us as served to screen ns from the view of an 
approaching foe. No enemy having as yet advanced, the 
general of division ordered a hollow square to be formed, 
facing inwards. A drumhead court-martial sat in rear of 
every regiment, and within the square were placed the 
triangles. The culprits seized in the town, as soon as tried 
and sentenced, were tied up, and a general punishment 
took place along the four faces of the square ; and this 
continued for several hours. During this time our vedettes 
came in frequently to report to the general that the enemy 
were advancing. His only reply was, " Very well." The 
punishment went on. The two culprits whom I have 
mentioned as having been seized in the act of committing 
a robbery stood with ropes round their necks. Being con- 
ducted to an angle of the square, the ropes were fastened 
to the branches of a tree which stood there, and at the 
same time the delinquents were lifted up and held on the 
shoulders of persons attached to the provost-marshal. In 
this situation they remained awaiting the awful signal for 
execution, which would instantly be carried into effect by 
a mere movement from the tree of the men upon whose 
shoulders they were supported. At this time (between 
twelve and one o'clock, as well as I can remember) a cavalry 
officer of high regimental rank galloped into the square 
and reported to General Paget that the piquets were 
engaged and retiring. "I am sorry for it, sir," said the 
general ; ^* but this information is of a nature which would 
induce me to expect a report rather by a private dragoon 
than from you. You had better go back to your fighting 
piquets, sir, and animate your men to a full discharge of 
their duty." General Paget was then silent for a few 
moments, and apparently suffering under great excitement. 


He at length addressed tlie square by saying ; " My God I 
is it not lanientable to think that, instead of preparing the 
troops confided to my command to receive the enemies of 
their country, I am preparing to hang two robbers ? But 
though that angle of the square should be attacked I shall 
execute these villains in this angle." The general again 
became silent for a moment, and our piquets were heard 
retiring up the opposite side of the hill and along the road 
which flanked it on our left. After a moment's pause he 
addressed the men a second time in these words : " If I 
spare the lives of these two men, will you promise to 
reform ? '' Not the slightest sound, not even breathing, 
was heard within the square. The question was repeated : 
*' If I spare the lives of these men, will you give me your 
word of honour as soldiers that you will reform ? " The 
same awful silence continued until some of the officers 
whispered to the men to say " Yes,*' when that word 
loudly and rapidly flew through the square. The culprits 
were then hastily taken away from the fatal tree, by a 
suspension from which they but a moment before expected 
to have terminated their existence. The triangles were 
now ordered to be taken down and carried away. In- 
deed, the whole affair had all the appearance of stage 
management, for even as the men gave the cheers 
customary when condemned criminals are reprieved, our 
piquets appeared on the summit of the hill above us, inter- 
mixed with the enemy's advanced guard. The square was 
immediately reduced, formed into columns at quarter dis- 
tance and retired, preceded by the 62nd Regiment, who 
started forward at double quick time, and, crossing the 
River Guia, lined its opposite bank. The division coming 
up passed over the bridge, with the exception of the 
28th Light Company, who were left behind with orders to 


remain there until the whole of the reserve should have 
crossed, and then to follow. 

General Paget now moved forward and took up a 
strong position on the side of a sloping hill immediately 
in front of Calcabellos. His extreme right somewhat 
outflanked the town, his left rested on the road leading to 
Villa Franca. The whole line was protected by a chain 
of hedges and stone walls which ran close in front. Our 
battery of six guns was pushed some way down the road 
leading to the bridge, to take advantage of a small bay 
by which they were protected and concealed from the 
enemy. The light company of the 28th, as soon as they 
retired from the bridge, were to be posted immediately 
under the guns, which were to fire over our heads, the 
declivity of the road allowing that arrangement. The 
left wing of the 28th Regiment were pushed forward imme- 
diately in rear of the guns and for their protection. The 
right wing of the 28th Regiment now formed the extreme 
left of the direct line. Further in advance, and extended 
to the left along the bank of the stream, their right close 
to the bridge, the 52nd were placed. 

The Guia, an insignificant stream, but at this season 
rising in its bed, runs along the base of the sloping hill 
upon which Calcabellos is situated, at the distance of from 
four to five hundred yards, and passing under the narrow 
stone bridge, winds round the vineyards in which the 
62nd Regiment were posted. At this bridge the light 
company, as has been said, were posted until everything 
belonging to the reserve should pass over ; and, before 
this was entirely accomplished, our cavalry (at first pre- 
ceded by the 96th, whom they passed through) came 
galloping down to the bridge, followed closely by the 
enemy's dragoons. The enemy's advance being seen from 


the high ground in onr rear, the battalion bugles sounded 
our recall ; but it was impossible to obey, for at that 
moment our cavalry and the rifles completely choked up 
the bridge. 

The situation of the light company was now very 
embarrassing — in danger of being trampled by our own 
cavalry, who rode over everything which came in their 
way, and crowded by the 95th and liable to be shot by 
them, for in their confusion they were firing in every 
direction. Some of them were a little the worse for 
liquor — a staggering complaint at that time very pre- 
valent in our army ; and we were so mixed up with them 
and onr own cavalry that we could offer no formation to 
receive the enemy, who threatened to cut us down. At 
length, the crowd dissipating, we were plainly seen by 
the French, who, probably taking us for the head of an 
infantry column, retired. We sent them a few shots. 

As soon as the 95th, who had lost between thirty and 
forty prisoners on the occasion, had crossed over and lined 
the hedges on the opposite side, and our cavalry, taking 
retrograde precedence more through horse-play than mili- 
tary etiquette, had cleared the bridge, the light company 
followed. It was mortifying to reflect that after such an 
uninterrupted series of brilliant achievements, their farewell 
encounter with their opponents should thus terminate, even 
although they may have been somewhat outnumbered ; but 
neither of their two gallant leaders were present. 

The light company now occupied their destined post 
under the guns, and accounted for not having obeyed the 
battalion bugles, which had continued to sound the recall 
during the whole time of our absence. The cavalry rode 
on without a halt to join the main body, then on march 
for Lugo. 



Shortly after we had gaiued our position, either sup- 
posing that the bridge was abandoned by the retirement 
of the light company, or because their courage was 
wound up to proper fighting pitch, the French cavalry 
advanced at a quick trot down the hill. Our guns instantly 
wheeled out upon the road, and played upon their column 
until they became screened from their fire by the dip in 
the road as they approached the bridge. Here they were 
warmly received by the 52nd Regiment, now freed from 
our own dragoons, and the 95th ; and upon this they 
made a most furious charge at full speed over the bridge 
and up the road towards our position. During this onset 
they were severely galled by the 95th, who by this time 
had lined the hedges on either side of the road within a 
few yards of their flanks, and by the light company 
immediately in their front, whom it was evidently their 
intention to break through, as they rode close to our 
bayonets. But their ranks being much thinned by the 
destructive flanking fire of the rifles and of the standing 
ranks of the light company, their charge was vain, and, 
their gallant leader having fallen close under our bayonets, 
they wheeled about and underwent the same ordeal in 
retiring, so that but few survived to tell the tragic tale. 
The road was absolutely choked with their dead. One 
alone among the slain was sincerely regretted, their gallant 
leader, General Colbert ; his martial appearance, noble 
figure, manly gesture, and above all his daring bravery 
called forth the admiration of all. I say that one only 
was regretted, for the wanton cruelties committed against 
the women and children on the previous day were too 
recent to be either forgotten or forgiven. 

This attack of the French cavalry was most ill advised, 
ill judged, and seemingly without any final object in view. 


It is true that their bravery was too obvious to be doubted ; 
but they rushed on reckless of all opposition, whether 
apparent or probable, and had they succeeded in cutting 
through the light company, which they would have found 
some difficulty in doing, and although they would then 
have escaped much of the cross-fire of the 95th, yet they 
would have been in a worse position than before. When 
they had passed beyond the light company a hundred 
yards they would have encountered the left wing of the 
28th Regiment, supported, if necessary, by the right wing 
directly on their flank, although a little in the rear ; and 
had their number, which was but from four to ^ve hundred 
men, been quadrupled, every man must have been shot, 
bayoneted or taken prisoner. In fact, there is no cal- 
culating what amount of cavalry would be sufficient to 
force an infantry regiment formed in column on a road 
flanked with a high hedge on either side. I speak of 
British infantry, among whom no swerving takes place, 
each individual being well aware that his greatest safety 
depends on his manfully facing and strenuously opposing 
the foe. 

At this time the Commander of the forces arrived, having 
left Villa Franca as soon as he heard the report of the 
first gun fired. He immediately withdrew the 52nd 
Regiment, who, as I have stated, were a good way in front 
of our left, and placed them on the high ground towards the 
centre of our position. Sir John Moore did not at all differ 
from General Paget as to the strength of the position, but 
their intentions differed. Paget took up the best possible 
position which the nature of the ground offered to maintain 
a battle, however prolonged ; Sir John Moore perceived 
that both flanks of the 52nd were liable to be turned, 
especially after the light company had retired from the 


bridge, wliicli would more than probably bring on a general 
action of the whole reserve. This he studiously avoided, 
and for the best possible reasons. He was ignorant as to 
the amount of force with which the enemy were advancing 
against our position, but from all accounts he was led to 
believe that it was very great ; and at that time our nearest 
division, that of Sir David Baird, was at Nogales, distant 
nearly forty miles. 

Not long after the failure of the charge headed by 
General Colbert, some French dragoons together with their 
light troops crossed the Guia under the high ground 
occupied by our right and centre. They were opposed by 
the 95th, who moved from the hedges which flanked the 
road to meet them, and a severe skirmish ensued. The 
enemy's cavalry, who on this occasion mixed with their 
skirmishers, were fast gaining ground on the right of the 
rifles ; the bugles from the position sounded the retreat, 
but were very imperfectly obeyed. Some of the 52nd 
Regiment, who could no longer restrain their feelings at 
seeing the critical situation in which their old friends were 
placed, darted forward from their position above to their 
assistance ; and the 28th Light Company, making a partial 
extension along the hedge which flanked the road upon 
which they were stationed, sent many an effectual shot in 
their aid. 

The fight now became confused, and the enemy's numbers 
increased every instant. Cavalry, tirailleurs, voltigeurs, 
95th, and those of the 52nd Regiment who flew to the aid 
of their friends, now formed one indiscriminate mass ; and 
the light company on the road could no longer fire except 
at the dragoons' heads, some few of whom were lowered. 
It stung us to the heart to see our gallant comrades so 
maltreated with aid so near ; for had we of the light 


company crossed the hedge under which we were drawn 
up, and advanced a short way in regular order so as to 
form a 2^oint (Tappui^ all would have been put to rights. 
But we durst not move an inch, being posted close to our 
guns for their protection, and every moment expecting to 
encounter another charge of cavalry. 

At this time General Merle's division appeared on the 
hills in front of our position, and moved forward. The 
reserve now showed themselves, probably with a view of 
inducing the enemy to delay their attack until the morning. 
A heavy column of the enemy were pushed forward towards 
the left of our position, in front of where the 52nd Regiment 
had been posted. Their intention was evidently to cross 
the stream ; but their column soon becoming unveiled, our 
guns again wheeled out on to the road, and opened such a 
destructive fire that, although close to the Guia, they 
hastily retired, after having sustained considerable loss. 
Had the 52nd remained as first posted, the carnage in the 
column must have been immense ; but it is probable that 
the enemy were aware of that regiment having shifted 
ground, for they sent no skirmishers in front of their 
column. The skirmish, hitherto sharply maintained by the 
95th and 52nd against their opponents, now slackened and 
shortly ceased. The French tirailleurs and cavalry, per- 
ceiving the failure of their infantry attack on our left, and 
that they were fast retiring, retired also down to the banks 
of the Guia. 

It being now quite dark, our guns were withdrawn up to 
the main body of the reserve, and were followed by the light 
oompany. The 95th also fell back on to the main body ; 
and, leaving strong piquets along the line, the whole force 
moved on towards Villa Franca. Everything was now 
quiet, with the exception of a few shots fired from the bank 


of the stream in answer to some few of the 95tli, who still 
remained behind, and, although without any cause, persisted 
in continuing to fire, exposing themselves by the flashes. 
Indeed, it was more difficult to withdraw our men from 
the fight than to loose the hold of a high-bred mastiff. 

I have told already how during the hottest part of the 
skirmish the bugles from the position sounded the retreat, 
which was not at all, or at most but imperfectly obeyed. 
At this period of the retreat the reserve were always 
closely pursued and harassed by the enemy without their 
having an opportunity of revenge ; and this, from their 
being unaccustomed to campaigning, wrought them up 
to a pitch of excitement amounting to frenzy. They 
suffered privations, and were at the same time exposed 
to temptations which to British soldiers not habituated 
to the presence of an enemy were irresistible ; wine lay 
in their way and in abundance, forsaken too by its owners. 
Thus it was that, when on this day the French infantry 
first came in close contact with ours, when bayonets were 
crossed and blood was profusely drawn, our men were 
so wild and hot for the fray that it was hard to drag 
them from the field. 

That Britons will fight to the last — that is, while they 
can stand — is well known ; and it was this determination 
that caused Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo to say 
that the English were beaten according to every rule 
of war, but did not know it. Long may they remain in 
this species of ignorance, and, whether feasted flushed 
or fasting, continue to maintain their true national 
character, a specimen of which was given at Calcabellos ! 
Some there were who fought with stomachs full, many 
more with stomachs empty, and some there were who, 
if true men, gave proof of their veracity in wine. 


Thus terminated the first encounter which took place 
between the reserve and the foremost columns of the 
French infantry. It was conjectured that upwards of ^ve 
hundred men must have fallen, killed and wounded, in both 
armies. The loss sustained by General Merle's division 
could not be ascertained. Calculating, however, from the 
depth of the column, the fitness of the range for the 
practice of our guns, and the celerity with which they 
retired, it must have been severe ; but the greatest loss was 
in their cavalry — a just retribution for their wanton cruelty 
at Bembibre. 

Gratified by this preface to our future work, our morals 
improved by the justly merited punishment which we 
received that morning, refreshed by the clean sheets of 
driven snow upon which we had reposed, and our frames 
more braced than benumbed by the cold to which our 
own irregularities had doomed us, we pressed forward like 
soldiers upon whom the light of conviction had flashed and 
to whom physical powers were not wanting, and so marched 
that night to Herrerias, a distance of eighteen miles, 
and, if I mistake not, without leaving a single straggler 
of our division behind. The reserve again became disci- 
plined soldiers, determined to prove themselves such. 
They gave their word of honour as soldiers to their general 
that they would reform, and this too while the enemy 
were pressing forward to bear testimony to this pledge, 
by the fulfilment of which they were to become the 
principal sufierers. 

It was at this time currently reported that the cause 
of our sudden night march from Cambarros to Bembibre 
was a false alarm given to our cavalry, stating that 
Napoleon had entered Astorga that evening (December 31st) 
and was pushing forward his columns ; this of course 


rendered it necessary for the reserve immediately to retire, 
Cambarros being scarcely two leagues from Astorga. The 
groundlessness of this alarm became apparent through 
more certain information and succeeding events ; it was 
fully ascertained that Napoleon did not enter Astorga 
until the afternoon of next day (January 1st). False 
alarms must be expected in all campaigns, but more 
particularly in such a campaign as ours. In this instance 
the alarm proved very injurious to us. The night march 
of the reserve pushed on unnecessarily, harassed them 
a good deal, which, added to the manner in which they 
were employed next day in rousing the stragglers, caused 
them to leave many men behind in Bembibre ; and had 
Sir David Baird's division not been started up long before 
daybreak to make way for the reserve, but allowed to take 
some few hours more repose to give the men time to sleep 
away the fumes of the wine swallowed during the previous 
evening, some hundreds of stragglers would have been 
saved to the army. 



f~\^ leaving Calcabellos three or four miles behind, we 
^-^ approached Villa Franca. The whole town seemed 
on fire. This conflagration was caused by the destruction 
of stores and provisions ; and so tenacious were the com- 
missariat in preserving everj^hing for the flames that 
they had guards posted around even the biscuits and 
salt meat to prevent the men as they passed from taking 
anything away. A commissary or one of his satellites 
stood close to each sacrifice, who exhorted the officers as 
they passed to use every exertion in preventing any 
diminution of the sumptuous repast prepared for the 
hungry flames and grudged to the hungry soldiers. But 
notwithstanding these precautions and strict orders and 
the chastisement received in the morning, many of the 
men had the hardihood as they passed to stick their 
bayonets, and sergeants their pikes, into the salt pork 
which was actually being set fire to. Several junks were 
thus taken away, and many of the officers who cut and 
slashed at the men to prevent such sacrilege against the 
commissariat auto da fe, were very thankful that night 
at Herrerias to get a small portion of the salt meat thus 
carried ofi*. 
At this place we arrived about a couple of hours before 



daybreak on the morning of the 4th. Being a good deal 
fatigued, we halted to take some rest ; but as soon as 
the genial light of morning diffused its renovating influence 
over wearied mortals, we pressed forward for Nogales, 
distant from eighteen to twenty miles. During this day's 
march the misery and suffering attendant on wanton 
disorders and reckless debauchery among the men were 
awfully manifested ; some were lying dead along the 
road, and many apparently fast approaching a similar fate. 
Cavalry horses too were continually being shot. One 
circumstance I shall mention which roused every feeling 
both of humanity and indignation. About seven or eight 
miles from Herrerias, seeing a group of soldiers lying in 
the snow, I immediately went forward to rouse them up 
and send them on to join their regiments. The group 
lay close to the roadside. On my coming up, a sad 
spectacle presented itself. Through exhaustion, depravity, 
or a mixture of both, three men, a woman and a child 
all lay dead, forming a kind of circle, their heads inwards. 
In the centre were still the remains of a pool of rum, 
made by the breaking of a cask of that spirit. The 
unfortunate people must have sucked more of the liquor 
than their constitutions could support. Intoxication was 
followed by sleep, from which they awoke no more ; they 
were frozen to death. This was one of the closing scenes, 
brought on by the disgraceful drunkenness and debaucheries 
committed at Villa Franca during the previous two or 
three days. Being marked with peculiar circumstances, 
the scene is still fresh before me. 

Whilst I was contemplating the miseries and depravities 
of human nature, and paying no heed to the frequent 
discharge of pistols by our dragoons, I was aroused by 
hearing my name, and recognised an old acquaintance, 


Captain Bennet, of the 95tli. He rode slowly and was 
much bent over his saddle-bow, suffering severely from 
a wound received the previous evening at Calcabellos. He 
bore np stoutly, notwithstanding his sufferings, which were 
manifold. His mind was afflicted with thoughts of his 
family ; he dreaded falling into the hands of the advancing 
foe, and the bodily pain which he was suffering may be 
imagined, as he had ridden upwards of five-and-twenty 
miles with a musket-ball in his groin, during a freezing 
night through a country covered with snow. Poor Bennet I 
the only assistance which I could then afford was to give 
him a silk pocket-handkerchief, which I placed between 
his wounded side and the saddle ; yet little as this assist- 
ance was, it added to his ease, which he more gratefully 
acknowledged than the trifling incident merited. 

The slaughter of the horses continued throughout the 
day. They were led to the last by the dragoons, who then, 
whilst unable to restrain their manly tears, became the 
unwilling executioners of these noble animals, which had 
so lately and so powerfully contributed to their heroic 
deeds, and with a martial spirit equal to that of the gallant 
riders whom they bore irresistibly against the foe. Upon 
my enquiring of the men how it was that horses in 
apparently tolerable condition were incapable of at least 
proceeding quietly along, the invariable answer which I 
received was, that from the roughness of the road, hardened 
by continued frost, they cast their shoes, and that they had 
not a nail to fasten on those picked up, nor a shoe to 
replace those lost ; and they added that there was not a 
spare nail or shoe in any of the forge carts, which retired 
with the cavalry. This appeared the more strange as 
the cavalry were the previous day at Herrerias — the 
" Forges," so-called from the number of blacksmiths' work- 


shops there found ; in fact, the greater part of the town 
consisted of forges. In one of these some of ns were 
quartered during the few hours we halted on the preced- 
ing night, and there we partook of our sumptuous repast, 
consisting of a little salt pork and biscuit served upon 
a massive plate, a blacksmith's anvil, and in place of a 
superfluous nut-cracker there was a sledge-hammer to 
smash the flinty biscuit. 

This day's march was much retarded through our endea- 
vours to rouse the stragglers forward, who were very 
numerous, all left behind by the leading divisions. Added 
to this, we were compelled to await the 95th Regiment, 
whom we had left when we retired from our position at 
Calcabellos late on the previous evening. Piquets of the 
95th were left to occupy all the approaches leading to 
the position, and the regiment halted some way in their 
rear for support. The piquets were repeatedly attacked 
during the early part of the night by strong patrols ; 
although they lost some men, killed and wounded, they 
firmly maintained their posts, always beating back the 
enemy, who invariably retired in total ignorance as to 
whether the reserve had evacuated or still maintained their 
position. Towards the end of the night the piquets, 
according to orders previously received, fell back on their 
regiment, who now followed the track of the division. 
As far as Herrerias all was safe for them, as well from 
the darkness of the night as the start they had of a few 
hours before the enemy discovered their retirement. 

After Herrerias precautions became necessary. The 
95th were a rifle regiment. Rifles and swords were not 
so efficient as muskets and bayonets to resist an attack 
of cavalry ; and our last cavalry guard had passed to 
the rear early on the preceding evening. We were there- 


fore obliged to make occasional halts to allow the rifles 
nearer approach to efficient support. 

During these halts the men lay down in martial wedlock, 
each folding to his breast his better half — his musket — and 
thus enjoj^ed more repose than they would have done in 
triple the time if regularly marched into quarters ; for 
when soldiers come into a town they become curious 
travellers, and search very minutely for desirable objects — 
not that I rank them as antiquarian virtuosi, since soldiers 
care rather for the new and fresh than that rendered 
venerable by old age, and for quantity more than quality. 
A bucketful of common black-strap even would by them 
be preferred to a lesser portion, though it should be of 
the true old Falernian ; and a new polished dollar more 
highly estimated than a dusky old medal or coin, although 
its antiquity should bear date even as far back as the days 
of the first Darius. 

In the evening, as dusk approached, and within two or 
three miles of Nogales, we fell in with some Spanish clothing, 
shoes and arms. The carts which contained these articles 
were totally abandoned ; there were neither mules, mule- 
teers, nor guards. Our men immediately commenced an 
inspection of necessaries ; and the officers (I know not why) 
repeated the same opposition as at Yilla Franca. But in 
this instance the soldiers, many of whom were severely 
suffering from want of shoes, were not so easily deceived, 
and carried away many pairs of these absolutely necessary 
articles, and also several pairs of trousers and other 

At length we arrived at Nogales, long after dark. By 
this forced march we made amends for the day we halted 
at Calcabellos to cover Villa Franca during the destruction 
of such stores as could not be removed, as well as to push 



forward the numerous stragglers. It also enabled us to 
regain our proper echelon distance from the leading columns. 
In this place we were very reluctantly received by the 
inhabitants ; so much so that in most instances we 
were compelled to break open the doors to get under 
shelter, for the owners had either fled or concealed them- 
selves to the last moment. This latter was the case at 
the house upon which I, with the light company of the 
28th, was billeted. 

To force a Spanish door is not easy. They have large 
nails driven through the panels at small intervals ; these 
nails, or rivets, have heads on the outer side of the doors 
nearly the size of a half crown piece. And the doors are 
very massive — made of hard wood, generally oak ; so that 
striking against them with the butt ends of the muskets 
was totally useless. On this occasion, after knocking 
for some time to no purpose, we took a large stone, and, 
putting it into a sergeant's sash, four men stood close to 
the door supporting the sash, which formed a kind of 
sling ; others pulled away the stone as far as the length 
of the sash permitted, and then, adding all their force to 
its return, sent it with a tremendous bump bang against 
the door. After we (for I acted engineer on the occasion) 
had repeated this mode of rapping five or six times, the 
door became uneasy on its hinges, and the master of the 
house put his head out of a window, as if just awakened, 
and began to remonstrate loudly against the outrage ; upon 
which some of the men, in their desperation, threatened 
to shoot him at the window, and I believe that, had his 
remonstrances continued much longer, I should have found 
it difficult to prevent their carrying the threat into execution. 
However, it could not have been held malice prepense, 
since the muskets were always loaded ; and as to man- 


slaughter or justifiable homicide, they were practising it 
every hour. The door being at length wheeled back on 
its tottering hinges, we hurried into the house ; and so 
uncouth were we under such circumstances— fatigued, 
fasting and freezing — that before we enquired after the 
master's health, the welfare of his wife and family, or 
whether he had any such, he was closely interrogated as 
to the state of his larder and cellar. It is lucky that we 
were even so far courteous, as it was the last house we 
entered during the retreat. By " we " I mean the reserve, 
always considering ourselves distinct from the clodhoppers — 
a term given by our men to the leading divisions, who 
were always from one to three days' march ahead, as we 
advanced to the rear. 

Soon after we entered our billets we all became on the 
best terms with the landlord, who treated us very liberally ; 
but notwithstanding our not getting under cover until a 
late hour, being excessively fatigued and feeling certain 
that we should be engaged with the enemy as soon as the 
morning dawned, yet the men, except for their uniforms, 
resembled more a party of sportsmen after a long day's 
pleasant hunt than soldiers after a long and harassing 

The officers being obliged to lie down in the same 
apartment with the men, we were condemned to listen 
to their rough jokes and loud repartees, which under 
the circumstances were excessively unseasonable and 

" Gentleman " Roach, a title given to him from his con- 
tinually boasting of a long line of ancestors, was on this 
night more than usually facetious. He certainly had 
received an education far above his present station ; but 
he did not rank among the best soldiers of the light 



company, not being a stout marcher, rather inclined to be 
a lawyer, and fighting his battles more poignantly with 
his tongue than with his bayonet. His incessant chatter 
annoyed the whole company, who, being anxious to enjoy 
a little repose, upbraided him for his loquacity. 

Being no longer able to bear with his noise and vanity, 
which always bent towards pride of ancestry, one of the 
men interrupted him by crying out : '^ Bad luck to you 
and all your ancisthors put together ! I wish you'd hould 
your jaw, and let us lie quiet a little bit before the day 
comes, for we can hardly hould up our heads with the 

The " gentleman," always put on his mettle at the 
mention of his ancestors, with indignant voice exclaimed : 
" Wretch ! you personify all the disproportions of a vulgar 
cabbage-plant, the dense foliage of whose plebeian head is 
too ponderous for its ignoble crouching stem to support." 

" Faith, then," replied the plebeian, " I wish we had a 
good hid o' cabbage to ate now, and we'd give you the 
shrinking part, — that's like yourself, good-for-nothing and 
not able to stand when wanted ; and, damn your sowl, 
what are you like, always talking about your rotten ould 
ancisthors ? Sure, if you were any good yourself, you 
wouldn't be always calling thim to take your part. Be 
Jabers ! you're like a praty, for all your worth in the 
world is what's down in the ground." 

" Contemptible creature ! " replied the " gentleman," " if 
even the least of my noble line of ancestors were to rise 
from the grave, he would display such mighty feats of 
arms as would astound you and all the vulgar herd of 
which you appear to be the appropriate leader." 

The conclusion of this contemptuous speech, being 
accompanied with a revolving glance, and his right arm 


put into semicircular motion, including all the men as it 
passed through its orbit, brought him many adversaries. 

One of his new antagonists bellowed out with a loud 
laugh : " Bury him, bury him ! Since all the bravery 
that belongs to him is with his ould dads in the ground, 
maybe, if we buried him a little while to make an ould 
ancisthor of him too and then dug him up again, he might 
be a good soldier himself." 

" Arrah ! sure it's no use," cried out another, "to be 
loosing your talk with a dancing-masther like him. Wasn't 
he squeezed up behind a tree, like the back of an ould 
Cramona fiddle, while I was bothering three Johnny Craps, 
when they were running down screaming like pelebeens 
to charge the bridge ? And, after all that, I'll engage 
with his rotten ould ancisthors that when we goes home 
he'll have a bether pinshun than me, or be made a sergeant 
by some fine curnil that always stays at home and knows 
nothing at all about a good soldier." 

At this period of the noisy orgies, the night being far 
advanced, with no chance of repose owing to the loud 
laughter, a man of the company, who was always looked 
upon as a kind of mentor, at length interposed, and by 
some admirable and personal arguments put an end to the 
noisy revels. 

How little the minds of soldiers on service are occupied 
with thoughts of the enemy from the moment they are 
separated from them may plainly be seen by the merriment 
which they enjoyed during the greater part of this night ; 
and how reckless they are of the manner in which they 
will be employed next day, and how completely their hard- 
ships and fatigues are forgotten as soon as terminated, was 
also made clear on that same night : for although we had 
been for the previous four days and nights either marching 


or fighting or outlying piquets in tlie snow, yet some of the 
light company returned back nearly three miles to where 
the carts containing the Spanish clothing were abandoned, 
in the hope of procuring more shoes, thus voluntarily add- 
ing a night march of six miles to the most fatiguing march 
which took place during the whole campaign. The shoes 
thus procured, as well as those carried away previous to 
our entering the town, were regularly distributed among 
the company, which enabled the men to march stoutly next 
day. They who carried off some three, four or five pairs of 
shoes supplied those who were so unfortunate as not to 
have been enabled to carry away any. But the shoes were 
not given as presents ; they were sold at high prices on 
promise of payment at Corunna or on arriving in England. 
Some of those promissory notes became post-obits next 
evening along the road to Constantino, and many more 
shared the same fate before and at the battle of Corunna. 
Having been somewhat refreshed by our short repose at 
JSTogales, we commenced our march on the morning of the 
5th about daybreak ; but scarcely was darkness succeeded 
by light when the fight again commenced, and continued 
until darkness again returned. For as soon as the enemy 
discovered on the morning of the 4th that the reserve had 
retired during the previous night from the position which 
they occupied at Calcabellos, they had pushed forward, 
and by a forced march arrived at Nogales before daybreak 
on the 5th. Our skirmish with their cavalry, who all 
carried long carbines, was rather sharp during the morn- 
ing ; but at a few miles' distance from Nogales, as we 
approached a beautiful bridge, the skirmish became much 
more lively. This bridge, the name of which I do not 
recollect, presented a most romantic appearance. It was 
situated close to the foot of a hill. The stream immediately 


after passing through the bridge suddenly winding round the 
base of the high ground on the opposite bank, was entirely 
screened from our view as we approached the bridge, thus 
giving its numerous arches the appearance of so many 
entrances to subterranean caverns beneath the mountains, 
into which the current rushed. On the opposite bank and 
not far from the bridge, the road assumed a zigzag course ; 
and to have allowed the enemy, who were fast increasing 
in numbers, to come too near would have subjected our 
men to a destructive fire while ascending this meandering 
road. To avoid this General Paget marched us quickly 
across, and having surmounted the zigzag road, halted us 
just beyond range of musket-shot from the opposite bank ; 
he then ordered the guns to be unlimbered and the horses 
removed to the rear ; and the division then moved on, 
leaving the guns apparently abandoned. At this bridge 
we found a party of engineers endeavouring to destroy it, 
but as the stream was fordable on either side, the party 
were sent to the rear to practise their art elsewhere. 

We remained at our post beyond the bridge for about an 
hour, during which, although the firing continued, it be- 
came more slack. The enemy held back, evidently awaiting 
reinforcements ; yet they were continually pushing small 
parties across the fords. General Paget, who sat the whole 
time on a slope where the light company were posted in 
sight of the bridge, anxiously awaiting any attack which 
might be made to capture the guns, and seeing the passage 
at the fords, addressed me, saying, "You are a younger 
man than I am ; run up that hill " (rather on our flank, and 
round it the stream ran), " and see what force the enemy 
have collected on the other side." I instantly started off, 
and returning as quickly as possible, reported that the 
enemy on this bank were from two to three hundred men, 


infantry and cavalry, but that they were collecting in 
greater force on the opposite side. The general merely 
remarked, " It is no matter," and ordered the gnns to be 
horsed, saying, " These fellows don't seem inclined to add 
to their artillery." Had they indeed taken the guns, which 
I believe it was the intention of the general to permit, they 
could never have been more warmly received, and they 
would have paid most dearly for their momentarily held 
prize. The light company were posted behind a low hedge 
immediately on the flank of the guns ; the grenadiers 
were drawn up about a hundred yards in their rear ; the 
remainder of the regiment (28th) were posted at an 
appropriate distance in rear of their grenadiers, ready to 
push forward, and our gallant general was present to 
animate and direct. 

The guns being horsed were immediately sent forward 
to join the main body of the reserve, who by this time 
had got a start of four or five miles, to gain which 
advantage was the principal object of our halt. But 
General Paget, perceiving the great number of the enemy 
coming upon him, and his flank partly turned, judged 
it prudent to delay no longer, the more especially a& 
he had but one regiment with him in the rear. We 
therefore lost no time in following the guns. 

The general, observing our disappointment at the re- 
luctance of the enemy to come forward to attack us, took 
a pinch of snuff out of his buff-leather waistcoat pocket, 
and said, ^' 28th, if you don't get fighting enough, it is 
not my fault." 

Scarcely had we moved when a column of the enemy 
crossed the bridge in perfect order. Their light troops, 
together with those who forded in the morning, were 
soon close to our rear, when the skirmish resumed its^ 


lively character, which was incessant during several miles' 
march. Hurrying our pace about noon and thus gaining 
a mile or two ahead of our pursuers, we halted on the 
road (we of the light company only), at a place where 
we could only be attacked in front, and that by a strong 
force ; we therefore threw out no flankers. The mountain 
on our left, as we turned round to face the enemy, was 
stupendous, covered with snow, and rose nearly perpen- 
dicularly from where we stood. On our right the precipice 
was very deep, its steepness bearing proportion to the 
sudden rise of the mountain above. 

The enemy, seeing it impossible to force us in front 
until their heavy columns should come up, sent their 
voltigeurs and some cavalry into the valley low down 
on our right to turn that flank — an operation attended 
with many difl&culties. The country being deeply covered 
with snow, the inequalities of the ground were undis- 
€Overable to the eye ; and it afforded us much amusement 
to see men and horses tumbling head over heels as they 
advanced through the valley. 

It was during this short halt that an officer wearing 
-a, blue coat rode up from our rear (we faced the enemy), 
and on his enquiring for General Paget, some men of the 
company sent him forward to me for an answer. 

Upon his coming up he addressed me by saying, " Pray, 
sir, where is General Paget ? " 

As the general was not five yards distant, leaning 
against the wall of the road, and heard the demand as 
plainly as I did, I considered it would be indecorous in 
me to make any reply. The officer with the blue coat 
repeated his question rather hastily, and for the reason 
already mentioned I remained silent. 

The general then stood up, and putting on his hat 


said, " I am General Paget, sir ; pray, what are your 
commands ? " 

By a partial closing of one of the general's eyes I dis- 
covered a small shadow under the inner corner of its 
lower lid, which, although it did not prophesy a raging 
monsoon, yet clearly indicated severe weather not far 

" Oh, beg pardon, sir," said the blue-coat ojfficer ; '^ I am 
paymaster-general, and " 

Here he was interrupted by the general, who, advancing 
one or two paces towards him, said in a voice not to be 
mistaken, " Alight, sir ! " 

The gentleman complied, yet apparently as if he did 
not see the absolute necessity of so doing. Then, repeating 
that he was a — or the — paymaster-general, I forget which, 
continued by saying : " The treasure of the army, sir, is 
close in the rear, and the bullocks being jaded are unable 
to proceed ; I therefore want fresh animals to draw it 

"Pray, sir," said the general, "do you take me for 
a bullock-driver or a muleteer, or, knowing who I am, 
have you the presence of mind coolly to tell me that 
through a total neglect or ignorance of your duty you 
are about to lose the treasure of the army committed 
to your charge, which, according to your account, must 
shortly fall into the hands of that enemy ? " (And he 
pointed to the French advanced guard, who were closing 
upon us.) " Had you, sir, the slightest conception of your 
duty, you would have known that you ought to be a day's 
march ahead of the whole army, instead of hanging back 
with your foundered bullocks and carts upon the rearmost 
company of the rearguard, and making your report too 
at the very moment when that company is absolutely 


engaged with the advancing enemy. What, sir ! to come 
to me and impede my march with your carts, and ask 
me to look for bullocks when I should be free from all 
encumbrances and my mind occupied by no other care 
than that of disposing my troops to the best advantage 
in resisting the approaching enemy ! It is doubtful, sir, 
whether your conduct can be attributed to ignorance and 
neglect alone." 

There were other expressions equally strong which are 
now in part forgotten ; yet the words, " ought to be 
hanged ! " have been hanging on my memory for many 

While the sterling and the pound-sterling generals were 
thus giving and getting, the enemy were creeping round 
our right flank. Soult's heavy columns were closely 
approaching in front, and their balls coming amongst us 
obliged us to retire. I thought at the time that the 
general prolonged his discourse to give the man of money 
an opportunity of witnessing how the rearguard were 
generally occupied, and to show him the different use of 
silver and lead during a campaign. 

We now retired and soon came up to the treasure, con- 
tained in two carts lugged by foundered bullocks, moving 
so slowly as to render motion scarcely visible even in the 
wheels. The light company were now ordered to the 
rear in double quick time, to a village called, I think, 
Gallegos, about two miles distant, there to refresh and 
halt until called for. This order, although we had been 
fighting since daybreak, rather astonished and mortified 
us ; but General Paget formed a pretty correct idea as to 
how we were to be employed during the remainder of the 
day. As the light company passed to the rear the 
regiment were drawn up close to the carts, and preparation 


commenced for the fall of the dollars. As they rolled 
down the precipice, their silvery notes were accompanied 
by a noble bass, for two guns were thundering forth their 
applause into Soult's dark brown column as they gallantly 
pressed forward. 

After the money had been thus disposed of, and the 
enemy's column for a short time checked, the regiment 
and the guard of the treasure, consisting of a subaltern's 
party of the 4th or King's Own, passed to the rear. The 
light company by this time had had a halt of upwards 
of an hour, during which time we had some little repose, 
and sparingly partook of our frugal fare ; but our modera- 
tion arose more from economy than care of health, of which 
there was no necessity, for scarcely had the regiment and 
guard of the 4th Regiment got clear through the village 
when our old friends came up and liberally supplied us 
with their pale blue digesting pills. We were instantly 
under arms ; and the fight proceeded, and was well 
maintained on either side during several miles without 
the slightest intermission, until we came to a low hill 
within little more than musket-shot of the village of 



/^N this hill the artillery attached to the reserve were 
^-^ embattled ; the 95th Regiment were drawn np in 
line on either side, and one company advanced in loose 
order to cover the front. The road itself was now occupied 
by the 28th Light Company, close to the guns, being the 
only bayonets present. From this position the road 
descended suddenly in semicircular direction down to the 
bridge which separated us from Constantino, a village 
built on the slope of another hill beyond the stream. To 
arrive at this further hill the road from the bridge assumed 
a winding, zigzag course. Against our position on this 
side of the stream the enemy's light troops continued to 
advance, and became warmly engaged with the company 
of the 95th thrown forward. But on their heavy column 
coming up and gaining a full view of our position, they 
came to a halt, which continued for some time — a most 
fortunate circumstance, for at this juncture the main body 
of the reserve were passing over the bridge and wending 
their way up the zigzag road leading to the summit of 
the hill on the opposite bank, on which, as soon as gained, 
they were placed in position by Sir John Moore himself. 
Had the enemy's heavy column, who were close behind 
their skirmishers, pushed gallantly forward, which they 
would have been fully borne out in doing from their 



numbers, they mast have forced our guns and the 95th 
down to the bridge, and by occupying the near bank of 
the stream, which was very high, they would have 
been enabled to fire within pistol-shot into the retiring 
columns, and this must have caused the greatest confusion 
and loss. 

Having at length gained confidence from increasing 
numbers or feeling ashamed to delay their attack, the 
column, doubling its skirmishers, moved forward at the 
very moment when, the reserve having gained the opposite 
bank, our guns were withdrawn and passed us in a 
sharp trot down towards the bridge. The 95th and the 
light company now began also to withdraw, but scarcely 
had we left the position which we held when the French 
cavalry occupied it. Their numbers were every moment 
increasing, but, knowing that our guns had not as yet 
gained the opposite ridge, we retired with measured step. 
During our movement towards the bridge the cavalry 
frequently evinced an inclination to charge the light 
company on the road ; but seeing the beautiful manner 
in which the 95th retired, close on either flank of the 
road, through thickly planted vineyards, amongst which 
a horse could scarcely move, and knowing the murderous 
fire which that gallant corps would have poured forth 
had the cavalry attacked the light company, who with 
stern aspect were prepared to receive them, the horsemen 
declined to give us the honour of a charge. 

We now approached the bridge ; and the 95th, closing 
from the flanks, came on to the road, which here narrowed 
and wound so suddenly towards the bridge and so close, 
that, the bank being much above its level, it lay concealed 
until approached within a few yards. The light company 
now halted, and forming across the road as deep as our 


strength permitted, faced the cavalry. They also halted ; 
and the 95th, favoured by the sudden turn, wheeled round 
and quickly crossed the bridge unperceived. We now fully 
expected that the affair would terminate in a trial of 
bayonets and sabres ; but although the cavalry seemed 
preparing for a charge, yet, doubtful as to our true position 
and not knowing what had become of our guns or of the 
95th, and dreading an ambuscade such as was prepared 
for them in the morning, they hesitated and remained firm. 
The light company now wheeled round, and with a quick 
but orderly pace crossed the bridge unmolested. By this 
time the reserve had occupied their new position. The 
bank, which we had Just gained, was lined down to the 
water's edge by the 95th and other light troops, the end of 
the bridge strongly defended, and our guns admirably posted. 

All this preparation was closely seen by the enemy, and 
yet it was only now that they came forward in force and 
resolute in attack ; in fact, the warfare at the bridge 
seemed a revival of that courteous chivalry renowned in 
olden times, when the advancing army delayed their attack 
until their opponents should be prepared to resist the 
assault. As their dense column, preceded by the sharp- 
shooters and cavalry, pushed forward to assail the bridge, 
they suffered severely from our guns, which being advan- 
tageously posted above them had open play and beautiful 
practise at the column ; and the sharpshooters and cavalry 
who mounted the bridge were instantly shot, which caused 
all their attacks to fail. 

On this day the whole reserve presented a rather curious 
appearance, in consequence of their being partially clad 
with the raiment which they had snatched from the Spanish 
carts the previous night. I recollect that Lieutenant 
Cadell, of the 28th Regiment (now lieutenant-colonel), cut 


a Jiole in a blanket, through which he thrust his head, 
and thus marched the whole day. Being a tall man, a 
grenadier, his appearance was afterwards called to mind 
when we saw the shepherds clad in sheepskins crossing 
the Pyrenean mountains on stilts. But the light company 
of the 28th Regiment, being better supplied, in consequence 
of their nocturnal visit to the carts from Nogales, appeared 
more diversified in their dress than any others. Gray 
trousers, blue trousers, and white breeches were promiscu- 
ously seen. Some wore black shoes, some white ; and 
many there were who wore shoes of both colours. This 
being the company whom the enemy had in view almost 
the whole day, they may have been led to imagine that 
we were all mixed up with the stragglers from Rom ana's 
army. But their variety of dress affected neither the 
resolution nor discipline of the reserve ; and after three 
successive rushes which the enemy vainly made, cavalry 
and infantry uniting to force their way over the bridge, 
they returned each time under a thorough conviction that 
they had been received by British troops alone — British 
to a nerve. 

The fighting at the bridge continued. About dusk the 
main body of the reserve retired, leaving piquets and 
a strong supporting party to defend the passage. The 
piquets maintained an incessant fire with the enemy on 
the opposite end of the bridge so long as either party 
could distinguish the other ; darkness intervening, the firing 
ceased. After remaining quiet for some time and lighting 
our fires, and no movement being perceived on the opposite 
bank, the piquets and supports were silently withdrawn 
about half-past eleven o'clock and followed the track of 
the main body, whom we joined about dawn on march 
to Lugo. 


This morning's marcli was heavy ; for the enemy's 
cavalry alone having come np and keeping rather distant, 
the men complained of not having an enlivening shot 
to break the dreary monotony. However, we were soon 
gratified by seeing the whole British army in position 
about three miles in front of Lugo. 

We marched through the brigade of guards, who were 
for the most part in their shirts and trousers, and in the 
act of cooking. All their appointments swung airily from 
the branches of trees. As we passed, some of the officers 
asked Major Browne if we had heard anj^thing of the 
French. "I'll tell you what, my honest lads," replied 
Browne, " you had better take down your pipeclayed 
belts from those trees, put them on, and eat your dinners, 
if you have any, as quick as you can ; otherwise you may 
not have an opportunity of finishing them." The guards 
laughed with an air of incredulity. We marched on, but 
had not proceeded half a mile when we heard our guns, 
which were placed in the position mentioned, open on 
the advancing enemy. We now laughed in our turn at 
the guards, and continued our march to Lugo, where we 
arrived about two o'clock in the afternoon. 

We were instantly ordered to commence pipeclaying our 
belts, and to polish or clean every part of our appointments. 
This was considered useless hardship ; for grumbling at 
any orders, even supposed to come from the Commander of 
the forces, was the order of the day, and few considered 
that this very pipeclaying and polishing most powerfully 
tended to restore that discipline throughout the army 
which was so shamefully neglected during the march. 

On the morning of the 7th we turned out at daybreak, 
although it rained heavily, as clean as if we had just come 
out of our barrack-room in Colchester, and marched as 


orderly into position in front of Lugo as if crossing parade- 
ground in England. Here we remained the whole of the 
7th and 8th to no purpose : for although Soult came up on 
the morning of the former day, he merely made one or two 
demonstrations to feel our strength and find out whether 
the whole British army were there or not ; and although 
he received a loudly affirmative answer wherever he moved, 
yet from the morning until the night of the 8th the 
French army slept. For, however active Soult was on 
the 7th in feeling his way along our position, by which 
he sacrificed nearly four hundred men, on the 8th not 
a shot was fired ; and thus Sir John Moore evidently 
perceived that it was not the French marshal's intention 
to attack until he should be joined by an overwhelming 
force, which he knew was fast approaching. 

Nothing remained then for the British general but to 
retire. To attack Soult commanding a stronger force than 
his own, and holding a stronger position, would be 
preposterous ; the most favourable result which could 
occur would be to gain a victory, which, with a second 
stronger force close by, would be worse than useless, as it 
would increase the delay and consequently the peril. We 
had no hospitals, no transports for sick or wounded, no 
magazines, no provisions, not even spare ammunition, and 
not the shadow of an ally to support us. 

Whatever Sir John Moore's wishes as to fighting a 
battle at that period of the campaign might have been, it 
is certain that he considered a halt necessary to restore 
order and good conduct in the army. To this efiect the 
general issued a pungent order, censuring the want of 
discipline among the men, and the neglect of those whose 
principal duty it was to preserve it. 

Having fully succeeded in restoring discipline, and in a 


great measure remedying the immediate wants of the army, 
he determined without further delay to continue his march 
to Corunna. The army therefore retired from Lugo at 
half-past nine o'clock on the night of the 8th ; and had we 
had twelve hours of tolerably clement weather or even half 
that time, our march would have been comparatively 
prosperous. But fortune seldom favoured us ; storms of 
sleet rain and wind immediately assailed us on quitting 
our ground. 

The reserve arrived without fail on the road leading to 
Corunna, as was previously ordered, and was the only 
division, as well as I recollect, who did arrive at the time 
appointed. The other divisions, having missed their way, 
wandered about the greater part of the night before they 
gained the road ; therefore the reserve (the proper rear- 
guard) moved forward, but slowly, making frequent halts 
to await the arrival of the misled divisions. Frequent 
halts and slow marching between — always very detrimental 
to marching — was on this occasion doubly harassing to the 
reserve. We felt all the fatigue and anxiety of a rear- 
guard, with most of our own troops behind us. On the 
approach of any number of persons we were immediately 
on the alert, not knowing whether to receive friends or 
resist foes. The night being pitch dark and rainy, this 
continual halting and turning round was excessively 
tormenting ; and the men, from whom the true cause was 
kept concealed, grumbled much at what they termed this 
cockney kind of marching, to which they were not 
accustomed. Add to this that General Paget gave a most 
positive order that no man should on any account whatever 
quit the ranks or get off the road, not even during any of 
our halts. This may appear harsh, but if the strictest 
discipline had not been maintained in the reserve, the 


army would have been exposed to imminent danger. Had 
tlie disgraceful scenes which occurred at Bembibre taken 
place now in the reserve, with a veteran army close at our 
heels and commanded by such an officer as Soult, the 
result must have been too evident to require comment. 

On the morning of the 9th the wandering divisions 
having come up, the whole army halted for some hours in 
the rain, after which to our great joy the main body, with 
the cavalry in their front, moved on, and the reserve fell 
into its proper place, the rearguard. We allowed them 
to get as far ahead as possible, and then again felt, as 
we had done all through the retreat, a different corps and 
differently organised from the other divisions ; nor did we 
feel the same confidence in them, except when drawn up 
before the enemy, when the general character of British 
soldiers caused all distinctions to cease. 

But one of our greatest plagues was still to come. Some 
of the divisions in front, instead of keeping together on 
the road during a halt, which took place on the approach 
of the night of the 9th, were permitted to separate and 
go into buildings ; and on their divisions marching off, 
immense numbers were left behind, so that when the 
reserve came up we were halted to rouse up the stragglers. 
In many instances we succeeded, but generally failed ; we 
kicked, thumped, struck with the butt ends of the fire- 
locks, pricked with swords and bayonets, but to little 
purpose. There were three or four detached buildings in 
which some wine was found, and which also contained 
a large quantity of hay ; and between the effects of the 
wine and the inviting warmth of the hay it was totally 
impossible to move the men. And here I must confess 
that some even of the reserve, absolutely exhausted from 
the exertions they used in arousing the slothful of other 


divisions to a sense of their duty, and not having seen 
anything so luxurious as this hay since the night of 
December 22nd (the one previous to our march from 
Grajal del Campo), could not resist the temptation ; and 
in the partial absence of the officers, who were rousing up 
other stragglers, sat and from that sunk down probably 
with the intention of taking only a few minutes' repose ; 
yet they too remained behind. 

The division at this time were excessively harassed and 
fatigued. We had formed an outlying piquet for the whole 
army on the night of the 7th at Lugo, all the other troops 
being put under cover. Our occupation on the night of 
the 8th and the following day and night was still more 
harassing ; and here I must say that all our losses (those 
fallen in action excepted) arose from our contiguity to the 
main body. 

After having used every exertion to stimulate the 
stragglers to move forward, we continued our march for 
about a mile and a half, and then took up a position, thus 
affording support to the stragglers and covering the army, 
who had previously marched into Betanzos, about three 
miles distant. 

During this disastrous march from Lugo to Betanzos 
more men had fallen away from the ranks than during 
the whole previous part of the campaign. The destruction 
of several bridges was attempted, but a failure was the 
invariable result. 

On the 10th the whole army halted. The main body 
remained in the town of Betanzos ; the reserve maintained 
its position in bivouac. 

Directing our attention towards the stragglers as soon 
as day dawned, we discovered them formed in tolerably 
good order, resisting the French cavalry and retiring up 


the road to where we were in position. General Paget 
saw the whole affair, and perceiving that they were 
capable of defending themselves, deemed it unnecessary 
to send them any support ; but he declared in presence 
ot the men, who from a natural impulse wished to move 
down against the cavalry, that his reason for withholding 
support was that he would not sacrifice the life of one 
good soldier who had stuck to his colours to save the 
whole horde of those drunken marauders who by their 
disgraceful conduct placed themselves at the mercy of 
their enemies. 

The stragglers by this time became formidable ; and 
the enemy's cavalry having lost some men, and seeing 
the reserve strongly posted, declined to follow farther 
this newly formed levy en masse, who, true to their system, 
straggled up the hill to our bivouac. 

This affair between the stragglers and the cavalry was 
termed by the men the battle of the Panniers, from the 
following circumstance. A soldier of the 28th Regiment, 
really a good man, who had the mule of Doctor Dacres, 
to whom he was batman, having fallen in the rear 
because the animal which carried the surgeon's panniers 
was unable to keep up with the regiment, stopped 
at the houses mentioned ; and, getting up before day- 
break to follow the regiment he was the first to discover 
the enemy as they advanced rather cautiously, no doubt 
taking the stragglers for our proper rearguard. The 
doctor's man shouted to the stragglers to get up and 
defend themselves against the French cavalry ; bat before 
they could unite into anything like a compact body, some 
were sabred or taken. He then gallantly took command 
of all those who, roused to a sense of danger, contrived 
a formation, until, to use his own words, he was super- 


seded by a senior officer, a sergeant, who then assumed 
supreme command ; upon which General Panniers, with 
his mule, retired up the hill to where the reserve were 
posted. I understand that the sergeant got a commission 
for his good conduct among the stragglers ; but the poor 
batman was neglected — a not unusual instance of " Sic 
vos non vobis " in the British army. 

On the stragglers perceiving that they were no longer 
pursued by the dragoons, they showed strong inclination 
to straggle anew and keep aloof; but a strong piquet 
was now sent to meet them, not for their assistance, but 
to prick them forward and compel them to close upon 
the division. A guard was thrown across the road at the 
entrance to our position, through which all the stragglers 
must pass. Each man as he came up had his pack and 
haversack taken off and closely searched ; and all the 
money found upon them which it was fully ascertained 
could have been acquired by robbery only was collected 
in a heap and distributed among the men who never 
swerved from their colours, thus rewarding the meritorious 
and well disciplined to the mortification of those who 
disgraced their profession. The sum thus collected 
amounted to a great deal ; for many plunderers abandoned 
their ranks at an early period of the retreat, contriving 
to keep between the reserve and the other divisions, or 
keeping between the contending armies or on their flanks. 
But it is totally impossible to enumerate the different 
articles of plunder which they contrived to cram into 
their packs and haversacks. Brass candlesticks bent 
double, bundles of common knives, copper saucepans 
hammered into masses, every sort of domestic utensil 
which could be forced into their packs, were found upon 
them without any regard as to value or weight ; and the 


greater number carried double tlie weight imposed by 
military regulations or necessity. On this day upwards 
of fifteen hundred robust marauders, heavily laden with 
plunder, passed through the rearguard of the reserve. 
Those belonging to the division were of course halted ; 
but the great body were sent under escort to Betanzos, 
there to be dealt with by their different corjjs. 



rpHIS night we passed in feasting, supplies of provision 
-^ having been sent out from Corunna ; and the 
commissary gave our mess a canteen full of rum, some 
biscuits, and an extra piece of salt pork in exchange for 
a wax candle, which enabled him to serve out the rations 
and saved him from error in securing his own slight 
portion. We were excessively happy at the exchange, 
as it enabled us to entertain some friends that night ; and 
we felt proud at famishing the candle, which was not the 
less appreciated for being in the first instance sacrilegiously 
plundered from a church by the stragglers, then violently 
wrested from them by the light company, and finally 
returning to the purpose for which it was originally 
intended, and religiously expiring in throwing light on 
the works of the commissary. 

After two nights' uninterrupted repose in comfortable 
quarters, the main body of the army, under the immediate 
command of the General-in-chief, marched from Betanzos 
on the morning of the 11th, followed by the reserve from 
their bivouac at due distance, and the reserve, as usual, 
closely attended by Soult's advanced guard, headed by 
Franceschi's light cavalry. On this day they were not 
very pressing until after we had crossed the bridge of 
Betanzos. Close to this bridge the 28th Regiment were 



halted to protect the eDgineer officer and party employed 
to blow it up, all the necessary preparations having, it 
was supposed, taken place the day previously. The 
desired explosion now took place by which it was 
confidently expected that for a short time at least we 
should be separated from our teasing pursuers, and thus 
be enabled to arrive in good order before Corunna. Our 
expectations were, however, blasted by the explosion itself ; 
for as soon as the rubbish had fallen down and the smoke 
cleared away, to our great surprise and annoyance we 
perceived that one half of one arch only had been 
destroyed, the other half and one of the battlements 
remaining firm. 

On witnessing the abortive result of all this labour 
and fuss, General Paget, who was close by, exclaimed in 
astonishment, " What, another abortion ! And pray, sir, 
how do you account for this failure ? " 

The engineer officer replied that he could account for 
it in no other way than that the barrel of powder which 
effected the partial destruction had in its explosion either 
choked or shaken from its direction the train leading to 
the second barrel, which consequently still remained whole 
in the undemolished part of the arch. 

Upon this the general demanded to know within what 
period of time the disaster could be remedied. 

" In less than twenty minutes, sir," was the engineer's 

" Very well, sir," said General Paget ; and then, turning 
to me, he said, " Go over the bridge." 

I considered this order to be addressed to me individu- 
ally, for the purpose of reconnoitring, a service in which 
the general had frequently employed me during the 
march ; and, taking a rapid view of the probable conse- 


quences of passing over the smouldering embers of the 
half-choked train, which might still revive and creep its 
way to the second barrel, however flattered at being 
selected, yet I confess I did not relish the affair. But 
whatever my sensations, they were my own private 
property ; my person, I felt fully aware, belonged to my 
king and country. 

Immediately moving forward to the bridge, I found 
that the order to cross it was intended not for me alone ; 
the whole light company and the grenadiers were ordered 
to cross over. The main road led directly forward 
through the town of Betanzos ; but close to the end of 
the bridge which we now approached a branch road 
turned off at a right angle, winding round the base of 
the hill upon which Betanzos stands. At this angle and 
on the side of the road next the bridge was a large 
house, which intercepted the view between the bridge 
and the turn of the branch road ; and so we got on to 
the wrong road by mistake. 

Captain Gomm, General Disney's ma,ior of brigade, was 
sent to recall us, when we of course turned round, followed 
by the French cavalry at a short distance, within which 
they could easily keep, in consequence of the winding nature 
of the road. 

As soon as the grenadiers, who now led, turned the 
angle of the road above mentioned they were immediately 
on the bridge, and, never forgetting the barrel of powder^ 
they, followed by the light company, moved in double 
quick time over the narrow part of the bridge — by the men 
called the Devil's Neck. 

The enemy, perceiving us in such a hurry, no doubt 
attributed the haste to timidity (and it may be remarked 
in all contending animals that as courage oozes out of 


one it appears to be imbibed by its adversary); for 
scarcely had the light company passed twenty yards beyond 
the Devil's Neck when the cavalry gave a loud cheer — 
sure indication of a charge. I instantly gave the word, 
" Right about turn, forward ! " and, being now in front 
of the men, in my anxiety to gain the narrowed part of 
the bridge — the Devil's Neck — I happened to shoot five 
or six yards ahead, when, the dragoons advancing close, 
the front ranks of the company behind me came down 
on the knee. I had not time to turn round, for at that 
moment a French officer, darting in front rode full tilt 
at me. I cut at him, but my sword approached no nearer 
perhaps than his horse's nose ; in fact my little light 
infantry sabre was a useless weapon opposed to an immense 
mounted dragoon, covered, horse and all, with a large green 
cloak, which in itself formed a sufficient shield. After 
the failure of my attack I held my sword horizontally 
over my head, awaiting the dragoon's blow, for it was 
far more dangerous to turn round than to stand firm. 
At this very critical moment a man of the company, named 
Oats, cried out, " Mr. Blakeney, we've spun him ! " and at 
the same instant the dragoon fell dead at my feet. I flew 
with a bound to the rear, and regained the five or six paces 
incautiously advanced. The cavalry were now up to our 
bayonets, covering the whole pontine isthmus. 

This affair, trifling in itself, yet to me very interesting, 
did not occupy as much time as I have taken in its 
narration. Along the other side of the bridge the dragoons 
charged forward, until they came to the edge of the chasm 
formed by the explosion, when they were of course arrested ; 
and on the opposite side of the chasm the grenadiers were 
drawn up, standing, being protected from a charge by the 
opening. The dragoons in the rear, not knowing the cause 



of the check, rode furiously forward, and, crowding their 
front ranks, who were pulling up or wheeling round, and 
exposed to the fire of the grenadiers, the greatest confusion 
ensued ; while those at our side, finding all attempts at 
breaking through the light company fruitless, and being 
severely galled by the fire of the rear rank as well as a 
flanking fire from some of the grenadiers, all wheeled round 
and galloped off at full speed. Arriving at the house near 
the end of the bridge, their leading squadrons wheeled 
short round ; but the suddenness of the turn, made too 
whilst in full speed, checked the whole column, and the 
light company, now free to act on their feet, poured a 
wicked well-directed fire into their ranks. So hot was the 
peppering, and so anxious were the rear squadrons to get 
away, that they refused the turn, and, increasing their 
speed, rode direct into the town of Betanzos. Here we had 
beautiful practice, for the road was straight ; and to enter 
the town they must pass through an archway, which caused 
a second check, when many were lowered from their horses. 

All having at length retired, I stepped forward the 
nearly fatal Rye paces and took possession of my late 
fierce antagonist's green cloak, which from the inclemency 
of the weather was extremely useful. I long kept it as 
a boyish trophy, although to Oats alone belonged any merit 
attending the fall of its late gallant owner. Oats, seeing 
the dangerous predicament in which I was placed, was 
the only man in the front rank of the company who did 
not come on his knee ; he was immediately behind me, 
and remained firm on his feet to enable him to fire over 
my head, and, waiting the proper moment and taking steady 
aim, sent his ball through the dragoon's head just as his 
sabre was about to descend upon mine. 

It now appeared that during the time when the two 


flank companies of the regiment moved forward to check 
the cavalry, by which they ran such risk of being blown 
up or cut off, no progress had been made in the destraction 
of the standing half of the injured arch ; and now the 
enemy, possessing themselves of the building at the end of 
the bridge, fired upon us from the windows. From this 
house they could not be driven, our guns having moved 

Although all expectation of destroying the bridge was 
now relinquished, still it was absolutely necessary to 
prolong our halt. The whole British army were on 
march from Betanzos to Corunna ; and to have allowed the 
enemy to approach before the main body had crossed the 
bridge of El-Burgo, eight or ten miles farther on, must 
have caused serious loss. 

During our halt the French dark brown infantry 
columns were seen pouring into Betanzos, which they soon 
occupied in considerable force. They threw out some 
skirmishers, and showed frequent symptoms of rushing 
forward en masse to force the bridge ; but to our great 
disappointment they never attempted carrying their men- 
acing threats into execution, brought to their senses by 
the severe chastisement which their cavalry had received 
shortly before in their vain attempt to cross the bridge. 

A retiring army has seldom an opportunity of ascertain- 
ing the losses sustained by their pursuers ; however, in this 
instance they must have suffered severely, and had it not 
been for a drizzling rain, which continued the whole morn- 
ing and caused many of the musket locks to refuse fire, 
few, if any, of the dragoons who charged at the bridge 
would have returned. We had but a few men wounded 
either by pistol or carbine shots, but not a man cut down. 

Here I must express my astonishment that, notwith- 


standing tlie impetuosity with which the dragoons rushed 
forward, neither man nor horse was precipitated into the 
stream, although closely pressed by their own ranks in the 
rear, and being suddenly compelled to rein up whilst in full 
speed on the very edge of the chasm. They of course had 
heard the explosion, but being at some distance were 
ignorant of the effect which it produced ; and, seeing us 
after it had taken place cross and recross the bridge, they 
most probably considered the attempt to destroy it a total 
failure, as all other similar attempts had been ; and the 
chasm, from the rubbish and the convexity of the bridge, 
lay concealed till they were on the brink. 

The enemy seemed to be philosophically calculating their 
strength, whether of nerves or what, and of the resistance to 
be overcome by advancing. It would indeed be difficult to 
decide on the force necessary to win the bridge. The rifles 
with sure and steady aim incessantly poured their fire from 
the rising ground and hedges which our bank of the stream 
offered. The light company (28th) kept up a deadly fire 
upon all who trod the bridge, immediately supported by the 
grenadiers. The 28th Eegiment formed a barrier of steel 
in rear of its flank companies. The 20th, 62nd, and 91st 
Eegiments, boiling with eagerness to mingle in the fight, 
were scarcely restrained in their position not far above us, 
ready, in the event of the enemy forcing their way over the 
dead bodies of the 28th Regiment, to hurl to destruction 
all those who dared to pass the fatal bridge. General 
Paget was amongst us. Sir John Moore with anxious 
looks watched from the position above each individual 
movement. This we knew, and, knowing it, had the hero 
of Lodi and Areola himself headed the opposite host, he 
must have been content with his own end of the bridge 
or have surely perished at ours. 



General Paget, having considered that the main body of 
the army had by this time got sufficiently ahead, followed 
with the reserve, leaving the bridge without having des- 
troyed even one arch ; and scarcely had we retired ten 
minutes when the enemy's advanced guard passed over in 
polite attendance, maintaining their courteous distance, 
which was this day increased. Not having seen our guns 
at Betanzos, it is not improbable that they suspected an 
ambush such as had been tried at the romantic bridge. 

This, our last day's march, was the first time, since Sir 
John Moore became Commander of the forces, that the 
whole British army marched together ; consequently it was 
the most regular. Sir John Moore directed in person ; 
every commanding officer headed his regiment, and every 
captain and subaltern flanked his regularly formed section ; 
not a man was allowed to leave the ranks until a regular 
halt took place for that purpose. But the evil attending 
irregular marching was past and irreparable ; unfortunately 
this soldier-like manner of marching was resorted to too 
late to be of much effect. 

We, the reserve, arrived that evening at El-Burgo, a 
small village within four miles of Corunna. Extraordinary 
measures seemed to have been taken for the destruction of 
the bridge which there crossed the Mero. The prepara- 
tions being terminated, the 28th Light Company, who 
still formed the rearguard, crossing over the bridge were 
drawn up close in its rear. Many remonstrated against 
our nearness, but were sneeringly assured of being more 
than safe : thus high-bred scientific theory scorned the 
vulgarity of common sense. The explosion at length took 
place, and completely destroyed two arches ; large blocks 
of masonry whizzed awfully over our heads, and caused 
what the whole of Soult's cavalry could not effect during 


the retreat. The light company of the 28th and Captain 
Cameron's company of the 95th broke their ranks and 
ran like turkeys, and regardless of their bodies crammed 
their heads into any hole which promised security. The 
upshot masonic masses continuing their parabolic courses 
passed far to our rear, and, becoming independent of the 
impetus by which they had been disturbed, descended and 
were deeply buried in the earth. One man of the 28th was 
killed, and four others severely wounded were sent that 
night into Corunna. This was the only bridge destroyed 
during the whole retreat, except that of Castro Gonzolo, 
although many were attempted. 

Headquarters were this night at Corunna, and the whole 
of the troops under cover. Even the 28th Light Company, 
although on guard over that wonder, the blown-up bridge, 
were sheltered. We occupied a house quite close to the end 
of the bridge. Nearly opposite to us, on the other side of 
the street, a company of the 96th were stationed, also in 
a house ; and each company threw out small detached 
parties and sentinels along the bank of the river. 

The French infantry did not come up that evening ; but 
next morning, as day broke, we discovered the opposite 
bank lined by their light troops ; and a small village not 
far distant was held in force. But a few shots from our 
guns obliged the enemy to abandon the post ; and a sentry 
from the 96th was pushed forward to the verge of the 
broken arch, screened by stones and rubbish. Our 
opponents took up a similar post on their side during the 
night, so that, the British troops having now turned round 
to face the enemy, the advanced posts of the contending 
armies were only the breadth of two arches of a bridge 
asunder. In this situation we continued for two days, 
keeping up an incessant fire, so long as we could disco ve 


objects to fire at. This continued blaze was to our advan- 
tage, as it obliged tbe enemy to answer us. We were 
plentifully supplied with fresh ammunition from Corunna, 
whereas the expenditure on the part of our foes was not 
so easily remedied ; this they afterwards felt at the battle 
of Corunna. 

The light company were very critically situated. On 
one side our windows were exposed to a flanking fire ; 
at the end of the house they were directly open to the 
enemy ; and both were exposed to fire from the opposite 
bank, which was hotly maintained, so that it was impos- 
sible to cross the room we occupied except by creeping 
on our hands and knees. But in one angle we were as 
secure as in a coffee-house in London. We could have 
been altogether out of danger in a magazine underneath, 
but from there we could not see what the enemy were 
about ; and every moment it was expected they would 
attempt to repair the bridge, or in some way endeavour to 
cross the river, which was found to be fordable at low 
water. We therefore placed a large table — the only one 
found in the house — in the safety corner. A magazine 
was discovered filled with potatoes, the only ones we saw 
since leaving Salamanca ; and some fowls, detected in an 
outhouse, were cackled forth from their hiding-places by 
the melodious, though perfidious, notes of the ventriloquists 
in their search for game. 

Having a sumptuous dinner on this day, we invited 
Captain Cameron, commanding the Highland company of 
the 96th, who were on piquet in the house opposite, to 
come over and dine with us. Cameron was an excellent 
fellow and a gallant and determined soldier ; he willingly 
accepted the invitation, but hesitated as to crossing the 
street, not thinking himself justified in risking his life 


for a dinner when employed upon duty so important. But 
I told him that if he would wait until three shots had 
been fired at the window from which I was speaking (but 
standing at a respectful distance from it), he would be safe 
in running across the street. I then put my cap upon the 
point of my sword, pushing it gradually out of the window, 
at the same time cautiously, as it were, moving forward 
a musket. The three shots were soon fired at the cap. 
Cameron then bolted across the street ; but just as he 
was entering the door a fourth shot was fired, which I 
did not expect, and, as well as I can remember, passed 
through the skirts of his greatcoat without doing any 
other injury. The danger was not here finished, for as 
soon as he arrived within three steps of the top of the 
stairs he was obliged to crawl on all fours, and continue 
that grovelling movement until he arrived within the 
sanctum sanctorum. The servant who brought in dinner 
was obliged to conform to the same quadruped movement, 
pushing the dishes on before him. On that day also, 
Lieutenant Hill of our regiment came to visit us, passing 
along the rear of the houses. 

We were now rather numerous in the safe corner, being 
four in number — Cameron, Hill, Taylor, and myself. Hill, 
who came in late, was warned to keep within due bounds ; 
yet in a moment of forgetfulness he placed his glass out- 
side the safety line, and, as luck would have it, just as 
he withdrew his hand the glass was shattered to pieces 
by a musket-shot. A loud laugh arose at his expense ; 
there was no other glass to be found, and each being 
unwilling to lend his, he drank sometimes out of one 
and sometimes out of another. The scene was truly 
ridiculous ; and the manner also in which we discovered 
wine is not unworthy of being noticed. A man of the 


company, named Savage, came running to say that he 
had discovered wine, and conducted me to a house close 
by, in which General Disney, who commanded our brigade, 
was quartered. Looking through a crevice pointed out 
by Savage, for whose continued laughter I could not 
account, as soon as my eye became familiar with the dim 
light within 1 discovered the general and his aide-de-camp, 
Captain D'Oyly, of the guards, filling their canteens with 
wine. Bather at a loss and not thinking it decorous to 
interrupt the general whilst ofiicially employed for the 
good of the service, I went round to the door, which I 
discovered whilst peeping through the microscopic fissure ; 
here I waited until they came out, not badly provisioned 
with not bad wine. Just as they were about to lock the 
door I sprang forward, saying that I had discovered wine 
to be in the house, and came to inform him. The general 
thanked me very politely, saying that he intended acquaint- 
ing me privately, but that great caution must be observed 
to keep it a profound secret from the men. This was 
the good of the service alluded to. The general then gave 
me the key. We sent for our canteens, which for several 
days had hung uselessly over the men's shoulders ; our mess 
was plentifully stocked, and we gave every man a bottle 
of wine half at a time. Shortly afterwards D'Oyly came 
with the general's compliments, to ask if I could lend him 
a piece of salt pork, which he promised to repay at Corunna. 
Our mess had none to give, but I procured a four-pound 
piece from the company, which I must say he has never 
recollected to repay, so that should he ever meet the 
28th Light Company he will have an opportunity of 
fulfilling his obligations. 

On the evening of the 13th the reserve received an order 
to evacuate El-Burgo immediately. It stated that no 


regular formation whatever was to take place, neither 
regiments, companies, nor sections ; every man was to move 
out independently, and as soon as possible, in the direction 
of Corunna. The light company of the 28th were directed 
to retire in the same manner as soon as the place should 
be evacuated by the whole of the reserve. Such an order 
coming from General Paget astonished us all. But our 
speculations ceased when we reflected upon the source 
whence the order emanated ; for such was the high 
estimation entertained of General Paget, and such the 
confidence reposed in him by every officer and man in 
the reserve, that any orders coming from him were always 
received as the result of cool determination and mature 
judgment. When that officer gave an order there was 
something so peculiar in his glance, so impressive in his 
tone of voice, and so decisive in his manner, that no 
one held commune, even with himself, as to its pro- 
priety or final object. The order was clear ; the execution 
must be prompt. 

In obedience to this order the reserve commenced 
moving out of the town, directing their steps towards 
Corunna in the manner indicated. The light company 
perceiving the village evacuated by all except themselves, 
prepared to follow the example by moving out of the 
hothouse which they had occupied for two days, when all 
of a sudden we were not a little startled by a tremendous 
crash ; a cannon-shot, followed by another and another, 
passed through the roof, shattering tiles beams and every 
article that opposed. Our sanctum sanctorum, or safety 
corner, now became no longer such ; we hurried downstairs, 
not delaying to assume our accustomed quadruped position. 

This was the first time the enemy brought artillery 
to bear on the rearguard, although their guns were in 


position at Lugo. Tlie previous unaccountable order was 
now fully explained. General Paget had discovered a 
partially masked battery in forwardness on the summit 
of a hill, and the whole village was entirely exposed to 
its fire ; into this battery the enemy were dragging their 
guns, while the reserve were evacuating El-Burgo. The 
general, perceiving the place no longer tenable, fortunately 
ordered it to be abandoned in the manner mentioned. Had 
he waited to make regular formations, the loss of men on 
our part must have been considerable ; for as the light 
company passed through, the whole village was under 
cannonade and the streets raked by musketry from the 
bridge. Thus the reserve bade adieu to the advanced guard 
of Marshal Soult's army as an advanced guard. They 
insulted us at parting by firing while we were withdrawing 
our advanced sentries, pressing necessity preventing us 
from resenting the afiront ; but we warned them to beware, 
should we meet again. 



A ND now, before 1 join the sumj at Corunna, I beg 
to make a few remarks about the light company, 
28th Regiment, during the retreat which ended at El- 
Burgo. It must, I imagine, appear evident from the 
narrative that this company fully participated in all the 
fatigues, hardships and privations which occurred through- 
out the campaign in question ; that they, in common with 
the reserve, traversed eighty miles of ground in two 
marches, passed several nights under arms among the 
f^now-covered mountains, covered the army as a piquet at 
Lugo, Betanzos, and Corunna, at which the reserve were 
for two days in continual fire ; that scarcely a shot was 
fired during the campaign at which the company were not 
present, nor a skirmish in which they did not bear a part. 
And it must be clear, from the nature of light troops' 
duty and movements, that they took as much exercise 
and passed over as much ground, as the most actively 
employed part of the army. From their being exclusively 
charged twice by the enemy's cavalry at Calcabellos, once 
furiously charged at the bridge of Betanzos, and as the 
rearmost company of the rearguard, on January 6th, 
engaged from morning until night along the road from 
Nogales to Constantino, it is but reasonable to suppose 
that they must have suffered at least as many casualties 



as any company of the army ; and finally, they marched, 
the last company of the whole army, through the village 
of El-Burgo under a heavy cannonade and a sharp fire 
of musketry. Yet it now fell in as strong, if not the 
strongest company present, and as efficient, willing, and 
ready for fight as any which the army could produce ; 
and were I to give my testimony in presence of the most 
solemn tribunal, I could not say, so far as my memory 
serves, that a single individual of that company fell out 
of the ranks, or was left behind, in consequence of 
intolerable fatigue. The captain of the company (Bradby) 
was left behind, sick, at Lisbon ; and the senior lieutenant 
(English) was sent in the sick-carts from Benevente to 
Corunna on December 27th, 1808, suffering from dysentery ; 
but no man fell out on the march. 

This short statement is not given with a motive of 
extolling the service of the company or of proclaiming 
their strict discipline, though that would only be performing 
an act of justice towards the distinguished corps of which 
the company formed a part. I mention it rather as forming 
in my humble opinion a strong feature in the character 
of the whole retreat. 

In bringing the 28th Light Company so frequently 
into contact with the enemy, on which occasions the 
regiment were always at hand, I will not assert that some 
little predilection may not have been entertained by 
General Paget. I use the term predilection rather than 
confidence lest such term might be considered unpleasing 
to the other gallant corps who formed the reserve ; 
but whatever be the term used, the inclination was 
most natural. General Paget had commanded the 28th 
Regiment, and had left it but a few years previous to 
the campaign now under notice ; consequently he knew 


many of the men, and was acquainted with all the old 
officers. He commanded the regiment too in a situation 
which put nerve and discipline to the severest trial which 
has ever been recorded. He it was who, when in command 
of the 28th Regiment in Egypt, and attacked front and 
rear at the same moment, ordered the rear rank to face 
about, and in this situation, novel in warfare, received 
the double charge, which the men firmly resisted and 
victoriously repulsed ; thus he put to flight that chosen 
body who, previous to this extraordinary circumstance 
were termed the " French Invincibles." 

It cannot then be wondered at (nor can any other 
regiment feel jealous) that General Paget wished in the 
hour of trial to have his old corps near his person — not 
for his protection, but because wherever the enemy made 
their boldest attacks in the vain hope of reviving their 
claim to invincibility, there was he to be found triumphantly 
disputing such claim, confident of success when at the 
head of the same corps with whom he had destroyed their 
original title — a title which after many a gallant effort 
made in its support expired on March 21st, 1801, on the 
bayonets of the " Old Slashers." 

On the evening of the 13th the reserve fell into position 
with the army at Corunna ; but still there was no appear- 
ance of the transports. On this night the enemy by 
indefatigable labour put the bridge of El-Burgo in a 
passable state; and early on the morning of the 14th 
they crossed over two divisions of infantry and one of 
cavalry. As it was impossible to prevent this movement, 
it was feebly opposed, with the object of economising our 
strength for a more serious event. However some gunshots 
were exchanged. 

On this morning a large quantity of powder sent for 


the use of the Spaniards was destroyed, to prevent its 
falling into the hands of the enemy. The casks were 
piled up in a large and lesser magazine, built together 
upon a hill about three miles from the town. The smaller 
one blew up with a terrible noise, which startled us all ; 
but scarcely had we attempted to account for the occurrence, 
when, the train igniting the larger one, the crash was 
dreadful. A panic seized all ; the earth was agitated for 
miles, and almost every window in Corunna was shattered. 
This was the largest explosion of powder which had ever 
taken place in Europe — four thousand barrels. 

On this evening the long-expected transports hove in 
sight, and soon entered the harbour of Corunna. Preparations 
for embarkation immediately commenced ; and during the 
night the sick, the best horses and upwards of fifty pieces 
of artillery were put on board ready for a start — but eight 
or ten Spanish guns were kept on shore ready for a fight 

On the 16th Laborde's division arrived — a formidable 
reinforcement — and immediately fell into position on the 
extreme right of the enemy's line. 

The despondency which seized the minds of many at 
the long delay of the transports, and the accumulating 
strength of the enemy which increased the danger of 
embarkation, induced several general ofiicers to recommend 
to the Commander of the forces that he should ask the 
French marshal for terms under which he might retire 
to his transports without molestation. Few men of sound 
reflection could imagine that, even should the Commander 
of the forces crouch to this humiliating proposition, it would 
be acceded to by the haughty French marshal. Besides, 
there was no necessity for the degrading step : the enemy, 
it is true, had upwards of twenty thousand men in a strong 
position, and we had about fourteen thousand men in an 


inferior position — the only one left us to occupy. But 
the inhabitants of Corunna were determined to stand by 
us to the last, and in a great measure cover our embarka- 
tion ; and once embarked we were not in very great danger, 
for all the batteries on the sea face had been dismantled. 
Another great advantage was that every English soldier 
was furnished with a new firelock and his pouch filled 
with fresh ammunition, ready to be replenished from 
Corunna when required. These advantages compensated 
for more than half the difference in our numerical strength. 
Above all Sir John Moore was not a man who would 
recommend a British soldier to petition on his knees to 
an enemy, or to lower his national high bearing ; the 
high-spirited Moore was the last general in His Majesty's 
service who would submissively lead a gallant British 
force, however small, through the Caudine Forks. He 
rejected the ignoble proposition with feelings such as it 

The conduct of the inhabitants of Corunna was doubly 
honourable, as they knew that in a very few days their 
town must fall into the hands of the enemy, whom they 
were now so strenuously opposing. 

On the evening of the 15th a smart skirmish took 
place between our piquets on the left and a party sent 
forward on the French right, in the neighbourhood of 
Palavia Abaxo. Laborde sent forward two guns to 
strengthen his party. Lieutenant- Colonel M'Kenzie, of the 
6th, with some companies rushed forward, endeavouring 
to seize the battery ; but a strong line of infantry who 
lay concealed behind some walls started up and poured 
in such a sharp fire that the piquets were driven back, 
carrying their lieutenant-colonel mortally wounded. 

During the night of the 15th Soult completed his 


arrangements. His right rested close to the Mero ; and 
prolonging his line over rocky and woody ground, he placed 
his left close to a rocky eminence, upon which he planted 
his principal battery, consisting of eleven guns, posting 
several other guns as vantage-ground offered along his 
line. To the left, and in advance of this big battery, 
their cavalry were drawn up. Franceschi's dragoons 
on their extreme left were nearly a mile in rear of 
General Baird's division, in a diagonal direction. The 
rocky eminence which sustained the great French battery 
stood at the edge of a valley which lay on Baird's right, 
extending in a semicircular direction by his rear and not 
far distant from the harbour of Corunna. 

On our side, General Hope's division formed the left 
of the line, resting their left flank on the slimy banks of 
the Mero, extending his right so as to join Baird's 
division towards the centre of our line. From this, 
Baird prolonged his division to the right, in front of the 
enemy's left, and was outflanked by the great battery, 
which in an oblique direction was situated in his front. 
Our left wing and the right of the enemy were much 
further asunder than the contending wings on the other 
flank. This materially weakened our position ; but it could 
not be avoided, owing to the conformation of the slopes upon 
which alone we could be drawn up. These slopes gradually 
retired from our right to our left, and consequently the 
great French battery raked the whole of our line. General 
Fraser's division were drawn up close to Corunna, to watch 
the coast road, and to be in readiness to proceed to any 
part where needed most. 

On the morning of the 16th all the incumbrances 
of the army which had not been embarked the previous 
night were put on board, and then everything prepared 



for a battle or retreat. It was intended to embark the 
army that night as soon as darkness should screen their 
retirement. The reserve, whose post was not so open 
to the observation of the enemy, were to go on board 
in the afternoon. We were told that in consequence 
of general good conduct during the retreat, and having 
covered the army at Corunna for two whole days, we should 
be the first division to embark, and thus have time to 
make ourselves comfortable. All our baggage and such 
sea-stock as we could procure was shipped, and after 
the men had dined we marched towards the transports. 
Our minds were now occupied by thoughts of home ; but 
we had not proceeded above a hundred yards when we 
heard the firing of guns. The division halted to a man, as 
if by word of command ; each looked with anxious enquiry. 
But we were not kept long in suspense. An aide-de-camp 
came galloping at full speed to arrest our progress, telling 
us that an extraordinary movement was taking place 
throughout the enemy's line ; the three guns fired were 
a signal to give notice. We instantly countermarched, 
and passed through the village of Los Ayres, where but 
twenty minutes before we had bidden adieu to Spain, and 
considered ourselves on the way to England. But many 
there were who in a few hours were prevented from ever 
beholding their native shore ; they paid the last tribute 
to their country, surrendering their lives in maintaining 
the sacred cause of liberty and national independence. 

Immediately on passing through this village we halted. 
The enemy's dark columns were seen advancing from three 
different points, and with rapid pace literally coming down 
upon us, cheered by their guns, which sent their shot over 
their heads but plunged into our line, which at the same 
time was raked from right to left by their great battery. 


During these primary operations we became the reserve 
in reality, but continued so only until the Commander 
of the forces should ascertain to a certainty where the 
enemy intended making their fiercest attack ; and as to 
the point where this was to take place, Sir John Moore 
was not mistaken. He knew that he was opposed to the 
ablest marshal of France, and he therefore prepared to 
resist the attack at that point where he himself would 
have made it had the order of battle been reversed. Firm 
in his opinion, he shortly after our arrival at Los Ay res 
ordered the 95th Regiment to be detached from the 
reserve. Their duty was to keep the heavy dragoons 
of Lorge and Franceschi's light cavalry in play. Between 
the rifles and the right of Baird*s division the 52nd 
formed a loose chain across the valley. He then rode off, 
leaving orders with General Paget that at the opportune 
moment he was to move into the valley, turn the French 
left, and capture their heavy battery, sending at the same 
time orders to General Fraser to support the reserve. 

In the meantime the battle kindled along the whole 
line. Laborde's division on their right pressed hard upon 
Hope, and took possession of Palavia Abaxo. This was 
retaken and maintained by Colonel Nichols, who gallantly 
charged the enemy through the village at the head of 
a part of the 14th Regiment. On our right two heavy 
columns descended against Baird's division. One passed 
through Elvina, a village about midway between the 
two lines; this place was held by our piquets, who were 
driven back in confusion, but was subsequently retaken. 
This column made direct for Baird's right, obliging the 
4th Regiment to retire their right wing, and then advanced 
into the valley. The other column attacked the whole 
front of Baird's division. 


On Sir Jolin Moore's seeing the advance of the column 
throngh the valley, he cast a glance to the rear, and, 
perceiving that Paget had commenced his movement, 
he felt confident that all would go well in that quarter. 
He then rode up to the right of Baird's line, and told 
Colonel Wench, of the 4th Regiment, that his throwing 
back the right of his regiment was just what he wished. 
He then moved off towards the village of Elvina, where, 
after remaining for some time directing the active opera- 
tions, he fell mortally wounded ; but this, when known, 
served rather to increase than damp the ardour of the 
men, now more than ever excited to vengeance. 

Before this melancholy event the enemy's column, 
who passed by Baird's right, flushed with the idea of 
having turned the right of the British army (since the 
4th Regiment had retired their right wing), moved sternly 
forward, certain, as they thought, to come in rear of 
our troops. But as they advanced, they met the reserve 
coming on, with aspect stern and determined as their own ; 
they now discovered the true right of the British army. 
The advanced troops of Soult's army during the march 
now formed his left ; we recognised each other, and the 
warning at El-Burgo was recollected. A thousand passions 
boiled in every breast. Our opponents, madly jealous 
at having their military fame tarnished by the many 
defeats which they sustained during the march, determined 
to regain those laurels to them for ever lost. We, on 
the other hand, of the reserve had many causes to rouse 
our hatred and revenge. We painfully recollected the 
wanton carnage committed on the defenceless stragglers 
of all ages and sexes at Bembibre, and the many bitter 
cold nights we passed in the mountains of Galicia, when 
frost and snow alone formed the couches on which we 


tried to snatch a few hours of repose. The haughty and 
taunting insults too of our gasconading pursuers were 
fresh in our memory. One sentiment alone was opposed 
to our anger ; the time was come when it gave us pleasure 
to think of our past misfortunes, for they who caused 
them resolutely stood before us, foaming with impatience 
to wipe away the stain of former defeats. They were 
no longer inclined to keep aloof. 

Thus urged forward by mutual hate, wrought up to 
the highest pitch by twelve days' previous fighting, and 
knowing the approaching conflict to be our last farewell, 
we joined in fight 

"With all the fervour hate bestows 
Upon the last embrace of foes." 

Our foes stood firm. But the time occupied in firing was 
but short ; we soon came to the charge, and shortly the 
opposing column was dissipated. Their cavalry now 
thought it prudent to retire to and behind their great 
battery ; the 95th, freed from their presence, joined us ; 
and the 52nd, who had slowly retired as the enemy's 
column first advanced through the valley, also united with 
their division ; and now the reserve were again all united. 

We now pushed on all together, and turned the French 
left, and were preparing to charge and carry the great 
French battery. Had Fraser's fresh division, who had not 
fired a shot, come up now and joined the reserve according 
to the Commander of the forces' orders, the whole British 
line could have made an advance echelon movement to 
the left, and Sou It's army had been lost. Their cavalry 
had retreated behind their great battery, when they became 
useless from the rocky nature of the ground ; the battery 
itself was all but in our possession, and only required 


the short time necessary to march into it. Elvina, on 
our right, the great point of contention throughout the 
day, was in our possession, as was the village of Palavia 
Abaxo on our left. Our whole line had considerably 
advanced, and the enemy falling back in confusion fired 
more slackly, not so much owing to the casualties they 
sustained as to the scarcity and damaged state of their 
ammunition. Their muskets were bent and battered, 
while our fire was strong and rapid, our ammunition fresh 
and abundant, our muskets new and the nerves which 
spanned them tense. The only retreat the enemy had 
was over the patched-up bridge of El-Burgo, and this, 
after the 14th Regiment had taken Palavia Abaxo, was 
nearly, if not quite, as close to our left as to the French 
right. The Mero in full tide ran deep broad and rapid 
in their rear ; and if Napoleon the Great himself had 
been there, his escape would have been impossible. But 
the excited troops were drawn away from decisive and 
continued victory. 

As darkness approached, our piquets as usual lit large 
fires ; and the British army retired to Corunna, and em- 
barked that night without the slightest confusion, so 
completely had everything been previously arranged. 

On the morning of the 17th, the piquets being with- 
drawn, the wounded were collected and with the exception 
of very few put on board, covered by a brigade still left 
on shore for that purpose. About noon on this day Soult 
managed to bring up some guns to the village of S. Lucia, 
which played upon the shipping in the harbour, some 
of which were struck. This causing some disorder amongst 
the transports, several masters cut their cables, and four 
vessels ran ashore ; but the soldiers and crews being 
immediately rescued by the men-of-war's boats, and their 


vessels burned, the fleet got out of harbour. The Spaniards 
nobly redeemed their pledge to keep the enemy at bay 
and cover the embarkation to the very last. The few 
wounded who still remained ashore, together with the 
rearguard, were put on board early on the morning of 
the 18th without the loss of a single individual ; and the 
whole sailed for England. 

Without the remotest intention of depreciating the 
merits of his gallant successor, Sir John Hope, whose 
valour and military talents are renowned through the 
army, there is but little doubt that if Sir John Moore 
had not fallen the battle, though glorious to his successor 
and to the British army, would have terminated more 
decisively. Sir John Moore felt the keenest in the whole 
army. He, like the lion long baited and fretted by distant 
darts, had turned at last, and finding his pursuers within 
his reach would have been content with nothing less than 
their total destruction. 

That the battle of Corunna, under the peculiar circum- 
stances which attended it, was one of the most glorious 
which has been fought in modern times will not be denied ; 
it was that which furnished the most unequivocal proof 
of British firmness. The army could not have occupied 
a worse position, as Sir John Moore declared ; but it could 
not be remedied. Our troops were not sufficiently numerous 
to occupy a more advanced post, which was therefore left 
for the enemy. The British soldiers had been harassed 
by a long and fatiguing retreat in the severest season 
of the year and during peculiarly inclement weather. 
Their route had been through mountains covered with 
snow ; they had been irregularly fed, and the clothing 
partly worn off their backs. The enemy were far superior 
both in position and numbers ; and the English army 


fought without either cavalry or artillery. But however 
glorious was the result of the battle to England, yet it 
was cause of national rejoicing to the enemy, although 
conquered ; for Sir John Moore no longer guided a British 
force to rouse the jealousy and mar the plans of two 
hundred and fifty thousand French veterans accustomed 
to victory. He lay down on the land for whose freedom 
he bled, and slept on Iberia's breast for ever. 

Sir John Moore's first appearance produced sentiments 
in the beholder not remote from reverence. His tall, 
manly and perfect form attracted general admiration, while 
his brilliant and penetrating eye denoted profound observa- 
tion, and proclaimed the determined soldier and able 
general. His words, voice and bearing realised all you 
had ever imagined of a perfect and highly polished 
gentleman endowed with every talent necessary to form 
the statesman or warrior. His features were formed 
to command the attention of man and make the deepest 
impression on the female heart. His memory, as I have 
been told by old officers who knew him well, was extra- 
ordinary, yet amiably defective ; and what was once said 
of a great warrior might be justly applied to him — that 
he recollected everything save the injuries done to himself. 
Few have ever been gifted with more personal or mental 
charms than Sir John Moore ; yet the perfection with 
which he was sent forth was far outshone by the glory 
that attended his progress and recall. 

Having but slightly touched on the circumstances attend- 
ing the fall of this great man, I will repeat that after 
entirely approving the movement of the 4th Regiment 
in retiring their right wing, and feeling satisfied as to what 
would take place in the valley. Sir John Moore made 
straight for the village of Elvina, where the fight con- 


tinned to be most bloody and most obstinately maintained . 
It had been repeatedly taken and retaken at the point 
of the bayonet. Just as the Commander of the forces 
arrived, the 60th Regiment, who were formed on the left 
of the village, commanded by Major Napier, and seconded 
by Major Stanhope, made a most desperate charge through 
the village ; but Napier's impetuosity carrying him 
forward through some stone walls beyond the village, 
he was desperately wounded, and fell into the hands of 
the enemy ; and Major Stanhope was killed. The general 
cheered the regiment during this charge, crying out, 
" Bravo, 50fch, arid my two brave majors ! " Then per- 
ceiving the enemy coming forward to renew the struggle, 
he ordered up a battalion of the guards, directing at the 
same time that the two regiments already engaged should 
be supplied anew with ammunition. The 50th continued 
firm ; but the 42nd, mistaking this as an order to go to 
the rear for ammunition, began to retire. Seeing this, 
the general rode up to the regiment, exclaiming : " My 
brave 42nd, if you have gallantly fired away all your 
ammunition, you have still your bayonets — more efficient. 
Recollect Egypt ! Think on Scotland ! Come on, my 
gallant countrymen ! " Thus directing the willing 42nd to 
meet the renewed attack on Elvina, he had the satisfaction 
to hear that the guards were coming up ; and, pleased 
with the progress of the 42nd, he proudly sat erect on 
his war-steed, calmly casting a satisfied glance at the raging- 
war around. It was at this moment that he was struck 
to the ground by a cannon-ball, which laid open the breast 
of as upright and gallant a soldier as ever freely sur- 
rendered life in maintaining the honour and glory of his 
king and country. He soon arose to a sitting position, 
his eyes kindling with their usual brilliancy when in- 


formed that the enemy were victoriously repulsed at all 

At this period the battle raged in its utmost fury ; and 
an active general movement was taking place from right 
to left of both lines, the enemy retiring, the British pressing 
forward ; and now Sir David Baird also was knocked down, 
receiving the wound for which he subsequently suffered the 
amputation of his arm. 

On placing Sir John Moore in the blanket in which 
he was borne to the rear, the hilt of his sword got into- 
the wound ; and as they tried to take it away, he declined 
having it moved, saying, '^It may as well remain where 
it is, for, like the Spartan with his shield, the Briton should 
be taken out of the field with his sword." The wound 
was of the most dreadful nature ; the shoulder was shat- 
tered, the arm scarcely attached to the body, the ribs over 
his heart smashed and laid bare. 

Thus was Sir John Moore carried to the rear. As he 
proceeded, perceiving from the direction of the firing that 
our troops were advancing, he exclaimed, " I hope the 
people of England will be satisfied." On being taken ta 
his house in Corunna, he again enquired about the battle^ 
and being assured that the enemy were beaten at all points,, 
exclaimed: "It is great satisfaction to me to know that 
the French are beaten. I hope my country will do me 
justice." Whether this well-founded hope was realised 
or not let the just and generous determine. He now 
enquired about the safety of several officers, those of his 
staff in particular ; and he recommended several for pro- 
motion whom he considered deserving. This exertion 
caused a failing in his strength ; but on regaining it in 
a slight degree, addressing his old friend Colonel Anderson^ 
he asked if Paget was in the room. Upon being answered 



in the negative, lie desired to be remembered to him, 
saying, " He is a fine fellow ; 'tis General Paget, I mean." 
This was a noble testimonial to that gallant officer's 
high character, rendered sacred by the peculiar circum- 
stances in which it was called forth ; and it strongly 
marked the martial spirit and high mind of the dying 
hero, who, with his body writhing in torture, the veil of 
eternity fast clouding his vision and his lips quivering 
in the convulsive spasms of death, sighed forth his last 
words in admiration of the brave. 

The battle of Corunna terminated at the same moment 
that the British commander expired. He was buried in 
the citadel. As the enemy's last guns were firing his 
remains were lowered into the grave by his staff, simply 
wrapped in his military cloak. No external mark of 
mourning was displayed ; the grief could not be withdrawn 
from the heart. 

Thus, like a staunch general of the empire, Sir John 
Moore terminated his splendid career in maintaining its 
honour and crushing its foes. Yet his last act was 
peculiarly devoted to his own Scotland : it was cheering 
on the Royal Highlanders to a victorious charge. How 
Scotland has shown her recognition of the gallant and 
patriotic deed, or her admiration of the splendid career 
of the brightest ornament whom she ever sent forth on 
the glorious theatre of war, I have never been told. 



r\^ January ISth, 1809, the British army sailed from 
^^ Corunna, and having encountered very boisterous 
weather, the fleet were dispersed, and the regiments arrived 
in England at different ports and at different periods during 
the latter end of the month and the beginning of February. 
One wing of the 28th Regiment landed at Portsmouth ; 
the other, to which I belonged, disembarked at Plymouth. 
Our appearance on landing was very unseemly, owing 
principally to the hurry attending our embarkation at 
Corunna, which took place in the dark and in the presence 
of an enemy. Scarcely a regiment got on board the vessel 
which contained their baggage ; and the consequence was, 
that on quitting our ships we presented an appearance of 
much dirt and misery. The men were ragged, displaying 
torn garments of all colours ; and the people of England, 
accustomed to witness the high order and unparalleled 
cleanliness of their national troops, for which they are 
renowned throughout Europe, and never having seen an 
army after the termination of a hard campaign, were horror- 
struck, and persuaded themselves that some dreadful 
calamity must have occurred. Their consternation was 
artfully wrought up to the highest pitch by the wily old 
soldiers, who, fully aware of the advantage to be gained 



by this state of general excitement and farther to work 
on the feelings, recited in pathetic strain the most frightfnl 
accounts of their sufferings and hardships. Interested 
persons at home profited by this state of universal ferment. 
One political party, eagerly catching at any circumstances 
which could tend to incriminate the other, highly exagger- 
ated even those already incredible accounts ; while the 
other side, who felt that all the disasters attending the 
campaign properly rested with themselves, joined in 
the cry and with mean political subterfuge endeavoured 
to throw the onus off their own shoulders on to the breast 
of the silent, the unconscious dead. A general outcry was 
got up against Sir John Moore. He was accused of being 
stupid, of being irresolute, of running away, and of God 
knows what. His memory was assailed alike by those 
politically opposed to his party and by those who once 
were his supporters, and who, although aware of his 
masculine genius, maintained their posts by basely 
resorting to calumny and deceit. 

During this campaign it was the opinion of many that 
circumstances occurred which, under more favourable 
auspices, would have induced some individuals to expect 
promotion. But the jarring and disturbed state of the 
Cabinet, each individual endeavouring to counteract the 
measures of his colleague, threw out a foggy gloom 
damping all hopes ; and when the eminent services of 
Sir John Moore and those of General Paget were passed 
over unnoticed, it would have been a military heresy to 
have accepted, much more to solicit promotion. 

After remaining a few days at Plymouth, we proceeded 
as far as Exeter, and there halted for the space of a week 
to await further instructions from London. During our 
stay at this place we lived at the Old London Inn, and 


here a curious scene took place. Two Spanish gentle- 
men stopped at the inn on their way to Falmouth ; and 
when after dinner their bill was presented, a misunder- 
standing took place. I should premise that at this, as at 
many other inns in England, every edible article produced 
on the table is charged separately. The Spaniards, after 
carefully examining the bill, objected to pay it ; the waiter 
reported to his master, who interfered, but since he was 
as ignorant of Spanish as his guests were of the English 
language, all was confusion. The arguments and assertions 
of either party were totally incomprehensible to the other. 
After fruitless clamour the landlord came into the room 
where we, the officers of the regiment, dined, requesting 
to know if any of us could assist him in his dilemma. 
Although not very well acquainted with the Spanish 
language at that time, I volunteered my services. The 
Spaniards were very wrathful and boldly asserted that 
the innkeeper attempted to extort payment for a dish 
which was never brought to them ; this they were firm 
in maintaining, having counted every article. One swore 
that he never touched anything of the kind, and that, 
if brought into the room, it must have been covered on 
the sideboard ; the other accused the cook of having used 
it himself in the kitchen, and of trying, that he might 
conceal his gormandising, to make them pay, declaring 
at the same time that the affair should be laid open 
to the public for the benefit of future travellers who might 
otherwise be taken in. By their accounts it was impossible 
that I could fathom the affair ; and as soon as the 
Spaniards allowed me to speak, I called the waiter to 
bring his written bill, and on this one of the gentlemen 
pointed out what he considered to be the cheat. I took 
the paper from the waiter, when, lo ! upon examination 


I discovered the viand in dispute to be the chambermaid, 
who was charged in the bill at two shillings. I could 
not restrain a loud fit of laughter, which roused the blood 
of the Castilians even more than the cheat ; but when 
I explained the cause, they were as ready to enter into 
the joke as any others. Upon asking mine host how 
he could think of making a charge for the chambermaid 
in his bill, thus making a voluntary donation obligatory, 
he replied that, had he not done so, foreigners would 
never pay her ; that his servants had no other wages than 
those which they got from customers. The Spaniards paid 
the bill most willingly, and joined our table, and the 
whole party laughed heartily during the remainder of the 

The order for continuing our route having at length 
arrived, we proceeded to occupy our old quarters (Colchester), 
where, after passing through Dorset, to avoid falling in with 
other troops on the move, we arrived after a march which 
including partial halts occupied one month and five days, 
giving an addendum to our campaign of from between 
three and four hundred miles without leaving a single 
straggler behind. This march bore heavily by lightening us 
of all our cash, and dipped us besides in the paymaster's 

In less than three months after the regiment was united 
at Colchester, we again were ordered upon what we joyfully 
contemplated as active service. A magnificent expedition 
was sent out to carry off (if allowed) the Gallia Dutch 
fleet from the Schelde. The land forces, commanded by 
the Earl of Chatham, were composed of forty thousand 
men, the flower of the British Army. This force was 
accompanied by a not less imposing naval force : thirty- 
nine sail of the line, three dozen frigates and innumerable 


satellites, bombships, gunboats, brigs, etc., which, together 
with storeships, transports and other craft, amounted in 
the whole to upwards of six hundred sail. 

To join this splendid armament the 28th Eegiment 
marched from Colchester in the latter end of June, and 
reached Dover on July 4th. Thence we in a few days 
proceeded to Deal, where we embarked on board frigates — 
a squadron of that class of men-of-war under command 
of Sir Richard Keats being destined to carry the reserve 
of the army. This arrangement was adopted in consequence 
of the frigates drawing less water than ships of the line,- 
thus enabling them to lie closer in shore and quicken the 
disembarkation of the reserve, who of course were the 
first troops to land. We remained upwards of a week 
anchored at Deal, awaiting final instructions and the 
junction of the whole. During this delay some thousand 
families, many of the highest lineage in the kingdom, 
visited Deal. All arrangements being finally terminated, 
this truly magnificent naval and military armament sailed 
on July 28th, 1809. Thousands of superbly dressed women 
crowded the beach ; splendid equipages were numerous ; 
all the musical bands in the fleet, as well military as naval, 
joined in one general concert, playing the National Anthem, 
which, with the loud and long-continued cheering on shore, 
enlivened the neighbourhood for miles around and caused 
the most enthusiastic excitement throughout the whole. 
Many beauteous fair, whose smiles were rendered yet more 
brilliant by the intrusive tear, waved their handkerchiefs 
in the breeze to the fond objects of their fixed regard, 
who responded with silent but steadfast gaze, burning 
with the two noblest passions which inspire the breast 
of man — love and glory. The show was august, the 
pageant splendid, the music enchanting. 


Next morning we discovered tlie dykebound fens of 
Holland, little anticipating that they were shortly to 
become British graveyards. About noon we anchored ; 
and the remainder of the day was passed in preparing 
the three days' cooked provisions always carried by British 
soldiers on landing in an enemy's country. 

The next day proved boisterous, and to our great mor- 
tification nothing general could be attempted. However 
about noon the weather having somewhat abated, great 
commotion was observed throughout the armament ; 
signals from ship to ship throughout the fleet portended 
great events. Sir Richard Keats lowered his flag, followed 
by Sir John Hope on board the Salsette frigate, which 
carried the left wing of the 28th Regiment, with the 
exception of the light company. The light company 
embarked with the headquarters on board the Lavinia 
frigate, commanded by Lord William Stuart. 

After due consultation between the admiral and general, 
a signal was made calling for all the carpenters of the 
squadron with their tools. Some momentous affair was 
evidently at hand. Four companies of the 28th Regiment 
were lowered into boats, which, being joined by the light 
company from on board the Lavinia^ were placed under 
the command of Major Browne of the regiment. We now 
immediately pushed off, animated by the cheers of the 
whole fleet. The shore was soon reached, the light company 
leading the van, the first on hostile ground. Advancing 
some way, we encountered a piquet, who, on our shooting 
the fever (the ague only remained) out of a few trembling 
Dutchmen, thought proper to retire. Upon this we pro 
ceeded to carry into execution the object of the expedition, 
which, I forgot to mention before, was to destroy a signal- 



The carpenters now came in for a full share of the glory. 
Each axe that fell upon the staff was answered by cheers 
loud as salvos ; but when the mast after repeated blows 
was seen to fall, so loud were the greetings that some 
ships passing at a distance on their way to England and 
reporting what they had heard, induced many there to 
think that Antwerp had fallen into our hands. After the 
fall and destruction of the telegraph, we returned trium- 
phantly on board, carrying away all the machinery books 
and signals ; and thus, and thus alone, the 28th Regiment 
signalised itself during this stupendous campaign ! 

Next morning (July 31st) a signal was made for all 
the troops to descend into the boats and prepare for 
landing. The rapidity of the current was such that the 
boats were carried away by the stream, and clung alongside 
of any vessel that came in their way. I recollect that 
Lieutenant-Colonel Woodford, with his light company of 
the Coldstream Guards, held on by the Lavinia, and was 
taken on board. The ojfficers dined with Lord William 
Stuart, who, having been called away by Sir Richard Keats, 
requested me to do the honours of his table during his 
absence ; and his guests, to relieve me from any embarrass- 
ment, freely and cheerfully partook of his lordship's fare. 
I more than once in later days met Colonel Woodford in 
London, and remember not only his polished address and 
courteous manner, but also his prompt recognition and 
ready kindness. 

August 1st being fine, the reserve under Sir John 
Hope landed on the Island of South Beveland ; while 
the other troops went ashore principally on the Island 
of Walcheren, and soon proceeded to besiege Flushing. 
On the 13th the bombardment of that fortress com- 
menced. It was only on the morning of the 14th that. 


after many previous consultations, a squadron of frigates 
commanded by Lord William Stuart forced the passage 
of the Schelde ; and, notwithstanding the delay caused by 
considering the enterprise too dangerous to be attempted, 
only one vessel, the Lavinia which led, was struck by 
only one shot. On the morning of the 15th Flushing 

In the meantime the reserve in South Beveland stormed 
and took Fort Batz, a strong post occupied by the enemy. 
On the 11th an attempt was made by the enemy's gunboats 
to retake it ; but the guards, who originally took the 
fort, now successfully defended it. 

Flushing having fallen, our frigates in the Schelde, and 
all the channels and passages round the islands scoured 
by our gunboats, the reserve expected hourly to be 
ordered to attack Antwerp and the enemy's fleet, who 
lay in our view and within our grasp, not far from 
Antwerp. However we were grievously disappointed. 
With the fall of Flushing fell all our warlike operations. 
After we had remained inactive a sufficient time to allow 
Fouch^ to collect and throw thirty thousand men into 
Antwerp and its defences, and to erect batteries along all 
the approaches which he armed with the guns taken from 
their now useless ships, the Commander of the forces, with 
the courtesy of manner which distinguished that nobleman 
very politely requested the French to give up their fleet. 
But that surly son of a tubmaker, Bernadotte, sent a 
flat refusal ; and, finding too late that late Court hours 
and measured movements were ineffectual, against rapid 
and early rising revolutionists. Lord Chatham with the 
greater part of the survivors of his fevered army returned 
to England on September 14th. A portion were left behind 
to favour the introduction of prohibited goods, but the 


fatality and expense attending the maintenance of this 
contraband establishment being found to more than 
counterbalance the advantages proposed, the project was 
abandoned, and those who escaped pestilence returned on 
December 23rd. 

The splendid pageantry that attended, and the national 
joyous pride that greeted the departure of this superb 
armament, were wofuUy contrasted with its return. The 
unwieldy expedition, although it furnished cause of merri- 
ment all over the Continent, deluged the British empire 
with tears. There was scarcely a family in Great Britain 
which did not mourn the fate of a gallant soldier, without 
one cheering ray to brighten the gloom, one laurel leaf 
to be hallowed by their affectionate tears. The mortality 
among the troops was so great that bands of music were 
forbidden to attend the military funerals. 



A FTEE having filled up some hundred vacancies caused 
by our Dutch expedition, we again received orders 
to prepare for foreign service ; and in January 1810 the 
28th Regiment for the fourth time in four successive 
years marched from Colchester to go out and meet the 
foe in foreign lands. On this occasion we proceeded 
to Portsmouth, and with the 2nd Battalion of the 4th 
or King's Own Regiment embarked for Gibraltar, where 
we arrived towards the latter end of the ensuing month. 
In the April following, Major Browne of the regiment, with 
the light companies of the 9th, 30th, and 41st Regiments, 
a battalion company of the 28th which I accompanied, 
two guns and thirty gunners, the whole amounting to three 
hundred and sixty men and officers, marched to Tarifa, 
a small town at the entrance of the gut of Gibraltar, 
afterwards rendered celebrated by its noble defence under 
Colonel Skerrett against Marshal Victor. 

Soon after our arrival I was sent by Major Browne 
with despatches to General Campbell, then Lieutenant- 
Governor of Gibraltar. Returning next day with the 
general's instructions, when I had got about half way, 
my attention was suddenly called by the peasantry, who 
pastured their flocks on the neighbouring hills, frequently 
crying out, " Beware of the French ! " Neither the dragoon 



who accompanied me nor I myself could discover the 
slightest appearance of an enemy, and I knew that the 
French occupied no part within twenty miles of the place. 
Under this conviction I proceeded forwards, yet cautiously, 
for the shepherds, who seemed much excited, were running 
in all directions collecting their flocks. On our advancing 
a short way, we heard the shouts, " Beware of the French ! " 
repeated with redoubled vehemence. I now stopped short, 
when suddenly a French cavalry piquet, consisting of about 
twenty men and an officer, darted from out the thickets, 
which were so high and the patrol so well concealed 
that, although within a hundred and fifty yards of us, 
neither the dragoon nor I had discovered any appearance 
of either man or horse. They were in their saddles in 
an instant, and saluted us with their carbines and pistols 
literally before we had time to turn our horses round. 
My dragoon darted like lightning off the road towards the 
coast, calling upon me to follow, and in an instant was 
lost to sight. I felt much disinclination to trust my safety 
to concealment in a country with one yard of which 
off the road I was not acquainted. I therefore resolved 
to rely on the abilities of my horse to make good my 
retreat along the road ; I could depend upon him for 
speed. The patrol gave me chase for upwards of four 
miles. We always preserved nearly the same distance, from 
a hundred to a hundred and fifty yards apart, losing sight 
of each other only when a turn in the road or some high 
brambles intervened. Our uniformly preserving nearly 
^the same distance did not depend on the equal speed 
of our animals, but on the nature of the road which was 
perhaps the worst mountain road in Europe ; and so deep 
and so little apart were the ruts by which it was com- 
pletely traversed that to push a spirited horse would 


be to break his neck to a certainty and most probably 
that of the rider also. On approaching the cork wood 
not far from Algesiras, the ground being comparatively 
level, I very soon left the dragoons far behind. 

On my arrival at Algesiras, learning that two Spanish 
regiments of cavalry had just arrived there, I immediately 
waited on the senior officer, and informed him of what had 
occurred, using every remonstrance which I could suggest 
to induce him to march to the aid of Tarifa, which, even 
before I entered the town, he knew from the peasantry 
to be attacked. But all my prayers that he would aid 
Tarifa, or at least cut off the retreat of the enemy, were 
ineffectual, the Spanish commandant alleging that without 
orders he could not move. Upon this I wrote to Lieutenant 
Belcher, assistant military secretary to General Campbell, 
stating all that had taken place, at the same time 
remarking that from the fact, which I learned also from 
the peasantry who from far and near drove their flocks 
into Algesiras, that no sortie had been made by Major 
Browne, I felt convinced that he was attacked by a force 
much superior to his own. This letter I immediately sent 
off by a boat to Gibraltar. 

As soon as it became dusk I again mounted my horse, 
if possible to get to Tarifa, attended by the same dragoon 
who accompanied me in the morning. This man, who 
was no coward, found his way into Algesiras about the 
same time that I arrived there. He assured me that 
he could conduct me by a coast road to within a hundred 
yards of Tarifa without being discovered by any, as it was 
a road or rather goat-track but little known. As a proof 
of the confidence which he felt, he insisted on taking the 
lead, for two horses could not move abreast, and like 
a true Spaniard drew his sabre even before he left the 


town. The only thing I obtained from the Spanish com- 
mandant was his gratuitous adieu, strongly recommending 
that I should not attempt to return to Tarifa until it 
should be thoroughly ascertained that the enemy had 
retired, to which advice, to avoid the enemy, I paid as 
much attention as he did to my recommendation to seek 
the enemy. I felt much anxiety to be at Tarifa, the more 
as I wished to tell Browne of what I had done, and that 
consequently he might expect a reinforcement. 

We arrived before daybreak near the town, where 
meeting a friar we heard that we might advance with 
safety, for the French had retired. It appears that as 
soon as Marshal Victor, whose corps were lying before 
Cadiz, had learned that Tarifa was occupied by English 
troops, he sent out a strong patrol of infantry and cavalry 
to ascertain our strength. He felt very jealous of the post, 
as it threatened his foraging parties, who frequently came 
to the neighbouring fertile plains to procure nourishment 
for his army, and principally to collect forage for his 
cavalry. For this reason it was that he sent the party 
mentioned, who appeared before the walls of Tarifa on 
the morning of April 20th before daybreak, seven days 
after the place had been in our possession. The surmise 
stated in my letter to Lieutenant Belcher proved true. 
Major Browne, in consequence of the strong force brought 
against him, did not move out of the garrison until the 
evening, when the enemy drew off a part of their troops ; 
then, as they still occupied a large convent and some 
uninhabited houses close to the town, a sortie was made, 
headed by Captain Stovin, when they were soon dislodged 
and pursued for a considerable distance. This demonstra- 
tion against Tarifa was attended with but few results or 
casualties, one man only, a gunner, being killed and a 



few more wounded. Lieutenant Mitchell, a gallant officer, 
commanded tlie artillery. 

On my arrival at Tarifa I acquainted Major Browne with 
all that had occurred to me during my absence, my useless 
endeavours to induce the Spanish regiments or any part 
of the garrison of Algesiras to intercept the enemy's return 
from Tarifa, and finally with my having written to Gibraltar. 
The major fully approved of all the steps I had taken ; 
and, my letter being laid before General Campbell, he 
ordered four companies of the 47th Regiment, under the 
command of Captain O'Donoghue of that corps, instantly 
to embark for Tarifa, but the wind becoming contrary, they 
were obliged to disembark at Algesiras and proceed over- 
land. They arrived at Tarifa the night after my return 
there ; and here they continued until the month of 
September. Then the 28th Regiment, whose colonel, 
Belson, had gone to England in consequence of ill-health, 
were ordered to Tarifa ; and Captain O'Donoghue's 
detachment, together with the light companies which 
originally had accompanied Major Browne, were then 
recalled to Gibraltar. 

Shortly after this attack on Tarifa, an English merchant 
vessel was captured by a French privateer in the neighbour- 
hood of Vejer, not far from Tarifa. A midshipman, who 
commanded a gunboat detached from the guardship at 
Gibraltar, reported the circumstance to Major Browne, and 
applied to him for a detachment of soldiers to embark on 
board his boat, stating that so strengthened he might retake 
the vessel. Browne, in whose estimation the honour of His 
Majesty's arms in whatever branch of the service was para- 
mount to any other sentiment, hesitated not a moment, and 
ordered me, with as many men of the light company (28th) 
as the gunboat could stow, to embark immediately. 


Leaving Tarifa in the evening and pulling all night, we 
found ourselves next morning at dawn in the celebrated 
bay of Trafalgar ; and as soon as light enabled us to see 
we discovered the vessel alluded to about two miles distant. 
We immediately swept towards her. Soon after a boat 
put off from the shore, now in possession of the French, 
with intention, as we afterwards discovered, to set the ship 
on fire. While some of the sailors and soldiers in turn 
used every exertion to row, or rather sweep, we kept up 
as quick a fire as possible with a long twelve-pounder and 
a twenty-four-pounder at the boat coming from shore. 
One shot having struck not far beyond her, whilst a 
shower of grape fell but little short, she thought proper 
to retire. Being thus freed from the enemy's boat, we 
made a wide offing to keep the vessel between us and shore, 
within musket-shot of which she was run aground. On 
boarding her, we placed bales of wool or cotton, which 
formed the principal part of her cargo, along her side next 
the shore to cover us from the fire of musketry ; for by 
this time a strong detachment of French infantry came 
down close to the water's edge, ranging themselves in 
loose order, so as not to offer any dense body to the fire 
of the gunboat, which, after putting the soldiers on board 
the merchantman, retired beyond musket range of the 
shore and kept up a fire of round shot and grape. The 
enemy on shore had a similar covering to our own, having 
the night before disembarked several bales of the cotton. 
Whenever any of these was struck by a round shot, its 
bounding from the beach presented a most fantastic appear- 
ance and caused shouts of laughter among the men, which 
tended to lighten their fatigue. 

After working indefatigably for several hours, we at 
length succeeded in getting the vessel afloat. Our labour 



was much heightened by our being obliged to work her 
off by the windlass, since her capstan was unshipped and 
carried away by the French, who had everything in pre- 
paration on board to set fire to her as soon as unloaded, 
or if there were an attempt at rescue. 

Having succeeded in carrying her off, we returned next 
day to Tarifa, where we landed in triumph from our prize, 
as she was termed. Next day she was sent to Gibraltar, 
and condemned, I think, to salvage or some such term ; 
but never having on entering the army contemplated 
becoming a prize-fighter, I may be mistaken as to terms. 
On a distribution of this said salvage money being made, 
I was put down to receive a portion such as is allotted 
to a sailor, probably an able-bodied one. But on some 
person in Gibraltar suggesting that probably it would not 
be correct to class me, who was the only commissioned 
officer present at the recapture or within sight of it, with 
a common sailor, I was on reflection ranked with the 
petty officers, cooks, etc., thereby gaining promotion from 
the forecastle to the caboose, and obtaining the rank if not 
the title of cook. I employed no agent, considering my 
claim safe in the hands of the sister profession. Captain 
Vivian, who commanded the guardship, the San Juan^ at 
Gibraltar, I was told, superintended the arrangement ; and, 
together with the whole of his officers and crew, shared 
in the spoil, each officer having a much larger portion than 
that dealt out to me, although neither he nor they aided 
or assisted, or were or could be in sight, when the capture 
took place. The midshipman who commandied the gunboat 
was equally unfortunate as to the share to which he was 
entitled as the only acting naval officer present at the 
capture ; but I heard at the time that to quiet him he 
was otherwise rewarded. If true, 1 feel happy at it ; and 


we both should feel content, he at being promoted to 
the rank of a commissioned officer, and I at receiving 
a diploma as a master of gastronomic science, although to 
this day I am ignorant how to compose even a basin of 
peasonp. Shortly afterwards I met Mr. William Sweet- 
land, who was employed as agent on the occasion. On 
questioning him as to the extraordinary distribution, he 
with professional coolness replied that he was employed 
on the other side, that no person appeared on my behalf, 
and that if anybody had, of course there could be no question 
as to the sentence which must have been passed. I was 
strongly advised to appeal to the Admiralty, as I might 
thereby gain a sum of money that would tend to my 
advancement ; but I foolishly disregarded the counsel. 
So I took my cook's wages, and therewith drank to the 
health of my Sovereign, the honour and glory of my old 
profession, and success for ever to the Royal Navy. I 
was afterwards informed that thanks were given to me 
in public orders by Sir Eichard Keats. I never saw the 
order, and therefore cannot answer for its existence; yet 
the fact could easily be ascertained by any feeling interest 
in the subject. For my own part, I felt so dissatisfied 
at the mercenary or jobbing part of the transaction that 
I never took any step to ascertain whether the thanks 
were or were not published. Colonel Browne having 
visited Gibraltar shortly after the transaction had taken 
place, fully explained his and my sentiments to Captain 
Vivian on the quarter-deck of the San Juan, among 
other assertions upholding that he himself and the whole 
garrison of Tarifa, from which Lieutenant Blakeney was 
detached, had as strong a claim to participation in the 
salvage as Captain Vivian and the crew of the guardship ; 
and here he was perfectly right, for the garrison of Tarifa 


was five-and-twenty miles nearer to the scene of action 
than the San Juan stationed at Gibraltar. 

During onr long stay at Tarifa few days passed on 
which I was not employed either in opposing the French 
foraging parties or in carrying despatches to and from 
Gibraltar. On one of these latter occasions, when returning 
to Tarifa after an absence of three days, detained by heavy 
rains, I was not a little surprised at finding a stream 
through the cork wood of Algesiras much changed in its 
aspect. But three days previously I crossed it when the 
horse's hoofs were scarcely wetted ; now it had become 
a roaring and rapid torrent. The passage of this torrent 
was very dangerous ; its bed, with which I was well 
acquainted having crossed it fifty times, was formed of 
large smooth flags much inclined, making it somewhat 
perilous at any time to ride over it. Within fifteen or 
twenty yards of this, the only part passable, the water- 
course suddenly wound round the base of an abrupt 
mountain, against which the torrent rushed with violence, 
and continuing its new direction soon disgorged itself into 
the ocean. To make a false step in crossing was certain 
destruction. The current passed rapidly downwards 
between the mountains, its foaming surf interrupted in 
its course by huge and prominent rocks, with which the 
mountain sides were studded down to the very bed of 
the torrent, which, now passing underneath, now boiling 
over the rugged and unseemly heads of those frightful 
masses of stone, gave them apparent animation ; like 
monstrous spirits of the flood, they seemed to threaten 
destruction to all who came within their reach. With 
such a picture before me and considering it a stupid 
way of losing one's life, I hesitated for some moments, 
when the Spanish dragoon, who always accompanied me 


on such excursions, boldly took the lead and entered the 
hissing foam. His horse made some few slips, and more 
than once I expected to see both dashed to pieces, which 
must have taken place had the animal made a really 
false step. Fortunately they got safe across ; but this 
did not induce me to follow. Few perils I would not 
have encountered rather than ride through that frightful 
torrent, knowing as I did the nature of its bed. Yet 
to return to Algesiras I considered degrading, especially 
when the dragoon had so boldly passed across. At length, 
and contrary to his advice, I determined to wade on foot, 
and flogged forward my horse into the water, which he 
unwillingly took, and like the other narrowly escaped. 
The last trial was my own. I recollected that, close 
above where the horses passed, a rock about two feet 
high stood in the centre of the stream, and to lean against 
that in case of necessity, I entered the water a little higher. 
Fortunately I thought of this precaution, for by the time 
I had with the greatest exertion got to where this rock 
was situated, I felt so spent and incapable of resisting 
the torrent that I could neither proceed nor retire. Placing 
both legs firmly against the rock, and feeling quite giddy 
from the glare and the rapidity with which the waters 
passed, I felt compelled to close my eyes for some 

My situation was now neither wholesome nor pleasant. 
Boughs and trunks of trees rapidly passed at intervals 
down the stream, any one of which coming upon me 
must have either smashed me on the spot or dashed 
me headlong against the rocks below. But luckily I 
was preserved by another rock, which stood in the centre 
of the channel not far above me, rearing its ample head 
over the water ; this dividing the torrent, sent the floating 


batteries on either side. The poor Spaniard appeared 
desperate, violently striking his head, but he did not attempt 
the water a second time, nor could I blame him. I wore 
a very long sash with its still longer cords, such as light 
infantry bucks then used. Untying it and holding one 
end, I flung the other towards the Spaniard, who anxiously 
prepared to catch it ; but it proved too short. He 
now took off his sash, which was also long as all 
Spanish sashes are, and rolling up a stone within it 
flung it towards me with such precision that I caught 
it with both hands. I now tied the two sashes together, 
and fastened the stone within one end of the dragoon's 
sash, which I flung back to him. He caught it and gave 
a cheer. The only thing I now dreaded was that the 
Spaniard in his anxiety would give a sudden pull, which, 
with the heavy load of water I carried, might cause the 
silken bridge to snap or pull me off my legs, either of 
which things must be fatal. 1 therefore cautioned him 
to hold firm, but on no account to pull unless I should 
fall. He fully obeyed the directions, and I warped myself 
safely across. The faithful Spaniard hugged me to his 
breast, and having raped my cheeks of a kiss each, burst 
into a flood of tears, declaring that had anything happened 
to me he would instantly have deserted to the French ; 
he said that, had I been drowned and of course carried 
into the ocean, no assertion of his could have prevented 
any one from considering him the cause, and that conse- 
quently he would have been torn to pieces by the English 
soldiers at Tarifa. 

It was now about dusk, and the Spaniard having assisted 
me to mount, we started forward as fast as the badness 
of the road would permit, for we had several miles still 
to traverse. The expression of the inexpressible part 


of my dress at every stride of the horse resembled the 
sonnd made by steaks being fried in an adjoining room 
while the door is continually shutting and opening. This 
simile will now no doubt be considered excessively vulgar ; 
but at the period alluded to most officers were familiar 
with a frying-pan, and even a guardsman in those days 
could rough it on a beefsteak and a bottle of old port. 

"We arrived at Tarifa long after the officers had dined. 
Colonel Browne well recollects the circumstance, as it 
was on this occasion that I brought him a letter written 
by Lord Bathurst appointing him Lieutenant-Governor of 
Tarifa, with a pecuniary advantage attached which was 
not the least acceptable part of the communication. 

In this expedition I lost the use of a gold repeater, 
which was so gorged by the mountain torrent that I never 
afterwards could keep it in order. 

Soon after this I was again sent to Gibraltar with 
despatches, relative to which some notable occurrences 
took place. I should have previously mentioned that 
shortly after our occupation of Tarifa a corps or civic 
guard, composed of young men, inhabitants of the town, 
was formed. The command of this body, called the 
Tarifa Volunteers, amounting to from forty to fifty in- 
dividuals, was confided to Captain Meacham, 28th Regiment, 
not only because he was a gallant and experienced officer, 
but also on account of his knowledge of the Spanish 
language, acquired at an earlier period when the regiment 
was stationed in Minorca. This corps in its infancy im- 
perfectly drilled, without any established uniform and 
not very imposing in appearance owing to their diversity 
of dress, could not be relied on as an efficient force. For 
these reasons perhaps it was that they got the name of 
'' Meacham's Blind Nuts," so baptised, if I mistake not, 


by Captain Allen of the 10th Regiment. However, to 
ascertain what might be expected from them in case 
of an emergency which was daily expected, Major Browne 
determined to put their alertness at least to trial, confiding 
his plan to the Spanish lieutenant-governor. After a 
jovial dinner-party he, about an hour before daybreak, 
ordered the drums and bugles to sound to arms and troops 
to line the walls immediately, stating that the French 
were rapidly advancing against the town. The first to be 
seen, sabre in hand, was the Spanish governor, previously 
warned ; then came forth the British garrison with firm 
and equal step ; and last and not too willingly appeared 
the rather tardy volunteers. They were to be seen in 
small groups scattered through the town, no kind of 
formation having taken place preparatory to their going 
to the walls ; and so they slowly moved along the streets. 
To hurry them up a gun was fired, when an extraordinary 
scene was presented. Suddenly all the doors in the town 
flew open, and out rushed a fiercer and more warlike 
body by far. The streets were instantly crowded with 
women, one seizing a husband, another a son, a third 
a brother ; some clinging to their dearly beloved, all 
endeavouring to snatch them by force from out their 
warlike ranks, loudly and bitterly exclaiming against the 
British, who, they cried or rather screamed, being fond 
of bloodshed themselves, would force others into fight 
whether willing or otherwise. At length, urged by some 
British officers and breaking away from their wives, 
mothers, sisters and lovers, in whose hands remained many 
cloaks, coats, hats and even torn locks of hair, the poor 
Nuts arrived half shelled upon the ramparts. Dawn soon 
after breaking, all the guns were fired off", but surpassed 
by the louder screaming inside the town. The rough music 



of the artillery was immediately succeeded by the more 
harmonious sounds of the band playing " God save the 
King." All was soon restored to tranquillity, save for a 
few contentious Blind Nuts, each claiming to be the first 
who mounted the walls and offered himself to be cracked 
in defence of his country. 

Scarcely had this scene terminated when Colonel Browne 
received important intelligence of the enemy, and I was 
immediately sent with despatches to Gibraltar by water, 
the wind being rather favourable though strong, but the 
weather rainy. On my arrival at Gibraltar, to my utter 
tistonishment I found the landing-place crowded with 
inhabitants, officers and soldiers, all greedy to know the 
nature of my despatches, especially as I had come away 
in such boisterous weather and in an open boat. All were 
in the greatest anxiety ; for an English man-of-war, 
happening to pass by Tarifa at the moment the guns were 
firing from the ramparts, reported the circumstance at 
Gibraltar, but as it was blowing hard at the time and 
there was no port, she had not been able to stop to ascertain 
the cause of the firing. This, since a second attack on 
Tarifa by a larger force was threatened by the enemy, 
caused the greatest excitement at Gibraltar. 

The first person who addressed me on landing was 
Lieutenant Taylor, 9th Regiment (afterwards shot through 
the body at Barossa), demanding, without any prelude 
whatever, if Captain Godwin of his regiment was wounded. 
I dryly answered, " Yes." " Where ? " " In the shoulder." 
" Are they beaten off ? " " They are not there now." 
This was sufficient to extricate me from the surrounding 
crowd, which otherwise would have impeded my progress 
to the convent for at least an hour. As soon as Taylor 
got his information, he, followed by the crowd, whom I 



refused to answer, ran off to commuaicate his intelligence 
to his commanding officer, Colonel Mole, and Mole in- 
stantly galloped off with the news to General Bowes. 

In the meantime I delivered my despatches to General 
Campbell at the convent. Proceeding thence to Captain 
Power, who temporarily commanded the 28th Regiment, 
I was there met by Captain Loftus, aide-de-camp to 
General Bowes, with a message from the general that I 
should immediately, and in writing, state my reasons for 
having propagated unfounded reports of an attack and 
battle fought at Tarifa. I instantly answered that I had 
propagated no reports ; that the words battle or Tarifa 
never escaped my lips ; that to get rid of an idle and 
troublesome multitude who surrounded me on landing, I 
muttered something in a low tone of voice to Lieutenant 
Taylor, telling him loud enough to be heard by many not 
to divulge anything until the contents of the despatches 
which 1 carried should be made known through the 
proper channel ; that Taylor promised secrecy ; and that my 
stratagem succeeded, for on his departure at a quick pace 
the crowd followed. I further added that, had I the 
slightest conception that anything thus communicated could 
be believed by a general officer, I should certainly have 
remained silent, however incommoded by the mob ; and 
that to free myself from them was my only object. This 
explanation seemed to have been sufficient. I had no 
further communication from the general ; but the circum- 
stance having been privately communicated to General 
Campbell, he sent for Bowes and said, "So, general, I 
understand that you have had a flying despatch relative 
to a great battle being fought at Tarifa. I should think, 
general, that if such had been the case, this would have 
been the proper place for you to seek information. 


instead of sending in pursuit of the officer who carried 
despatches to me to know his reasons for any heedless 
conversation that might have taken place between him 
and any idlers by whom he was surrounded at the Mole. 
I understand also, general, that so pressing were you for 
his written explanation, that time was not allowed him to 
change his wet clothes, for which purpose it was I allowed 
him to go away, since he had been drenched with rain for 
several hours in an open boat." I met General Bowes the 
same day at the general's table. With a smile upon his 
countenance he very politely invited me to drink wine 
with him ; and the governor requested that, whenever I 
brought despatches, I should make the best of my way 
through the idlers, but should communicate with no one 
until I saw him. Thus the affair terminated as far as 
the generals were concerned. 

But all my troubles were not as yet ended ; I had to 
encounter others on my return. During my absence 
Godwin had been told that I reported his having been 
wounded in the back of his shoulder ; but although he 
taxed me with the report in a laughing way, still he 
appeared not well pleased. His usual good-humour returned 
when I assured him that I never made use of such an 
expression ; and certainly Godwin was one of the last 
to whom I should attribute a wound in the back. The 
fact was that he had been hurt in the shoulder a short 
time previously by his horse running with him against 
a tree. 

1 frankly confess that while the affair was in agitation 
between the generals at Gibraltar I felt somewhat nervous, 
owing to a circumstance which took place five years 
previously. It may be recollected that in 1805 the regiment 
were encamped at the Curragh of Kildare. During the 



early part of this encampment, when I was on duty on 
the quarter-gnard, it so happened that General Campbell 
was general officer of the lines ; and unfortunately it 
so fell out that the adjutant neglected to send me the 
parole and countersign until a very late hour. In the 
meantime came the grand rounds, who were rather hesitat- 
ingly challenged for the password, of which we ourselves 
were in total ignorance. The general, noticing the not 
very correct manner in which he was received and disre- 
garding the challenge, rode up at once to the quarter-guard, 
and, reprimanding me for the slovenly manner in which 
the advanced files were sent forward, demanded the 
countersign, adding that he believed I did not know it. 
At the moment, as the general turned his head away, 
the sergeant of the guard, having that instant received 
the parole and countersign, stepped forward and whisper- 
ing the words in my ear put the paper containing them 
in my hand ; but the general perceiving some movement 
rowed the sergeant for being unsteady under arms, and 
called me forward rather briskly, repeating his belief that 
I had not the countersign. I told him I had. 

" And what is the countersign ? " quickly demanded 
the general. 

I now coolly replied, " I am placed here to receive, not 
to give the countersign." 

The general was evidently amazed at the reply, and 
saying, "Very well, sir, we shall see about this in the 
morning," turned his horse round to ride off. 

This was the first quarter-guard I had ever mounted, 
and from the novelty of the scene and my not having 
the countersign when the grand rounds arrived, I felt 
excessively nervous ; but although my knees at the first 
onset beat the devil's tattoo against each other, yet, having 


now gained full confidence, ratlier augmented by a titter 
amongst the general's staff one of whom was his son, 
afterwards Sir Guy Campbell, I told the general that my 
orders were to allow no person to pass without his first 
giving the countersign. Here the titter increased. 

" What," said he—" not let me pass ? " 

I made no reply ; but retiring the two paces which 
the general had called me forward, I remained on the 
right of my guard, looking most respectfully at the 
general. After a moment's thought he gave me the 
countersign, and having received the parole in ex- 
change rode away. I was in hopes that the unpleasant 
affair had ended here; but immediately after I was 
relieved from guard I was sent for by Colonel Johnson, 
who, although not my immediate commanding officer, 
commanded both battalions as senior lieutenant-colonel. 
To him therefore the general complained, and to him 
he seemed to attach most blame for allowing so young 
an officer, and so totally ignorant of his duty, to take 
charge of a quarter-guard. All the field officers of the 
two battalions were summoned on the occasion to Colonel 
Johnson's tent, and in their presence the general recounted 
the whole transaction. I remained perfectly silent. On 
his coming towards a conclusion, when he mentioned my 
having refused to let him pass, which he repeated with 
emphasis, I saw a suppressed smile on the faces of both 
Colonel Johnson and Colonel Belson. But Major Browne, 
impatient of restraint, broke into a laugh exclaiming, 
" Well, he is only one year in the Service ; I am many, 
yet I wish I knew my duty as well ; and," continued he 
with increased laughter, "it is the first time I ever heard of 
a boy ensign taking his own general prisoner." Browne was 
wrong as to my rank, for I had been five days a lieutenant. 


However, the general did not seem to enjoy the joke as 
much as Browne did, and ordered Colonel Johnson to 
reprimand me. Johnson, who was brother-in-law to the 
general and one of the most gentlemanlike persons possible, 
bowed assent, but in some way gave the general to under- 
stand that he was at a loss to understand what particular 
part of my conduct it was for which I was to be censured. 
The general having retired, Johnson's rebuke to me was 
very slight indeed, particularly when I mentioned, as I 
refrained from doing while the general was there, that the 
countersign and parole, with which I should have been 
furnished before sunset, were not sent to me until midnight, 
just as the grand rounds advanced. But if the lieutenant- 
governor recollected this anecdote when at Gibraltar, it 
certainly caused no difference in his courtesy or hospitality 
towards me ; for he insisted that whenever I visited 
Gibr alter I should always make the convent my head- 



nnO relate the many and divers occurrences which took 
-^ place during our stay at Tarifa, although all more 
or less interesting, would swell these pages to an imprudent 
size. I shall therefore pass over many and come down 
to the month of January 1811. 

The Duke of Dalmatia, who directed the operations 
carried on against Cadiz and commanded the French force 
in Andalusia, was ordered by the Emperor to proceed 
into Estremadura, principally for the purpose of reducing 
the fortresses of Olivenza and Badajoz. Pursuant to these 
instructions he marched from Seville in the first days of 
the month with an army of sixteen thousand men, having 
withdrawn a part of the troops from before Cadiz. The 
British troops stationed in this fortress were commanded 
by General Graham. This active officer, indignant at 
seeing the gallant troops under his command ignobly and 
unnecessarily caged up in a fortress by an inferior force, 
(counting each Spaniard who wore military uniform a 
soldier), and anxious to shake off the dead weight of his 
sluggish ally, General La Pena, who impeded the Spaniards 
under his command both in working on the fortifications 
and fighting against the enemy, eagerly seized the oppor- 
tunity offered by Soult's departure of bursting the trammels 
which fettered British valour and striking a decisive blow 



against the enemy. To carry into full effect his well-digested 
plans, he proposed to the drowsy Spanish general, La Pena, 
and to the active British admiral, Sir R. Keats, a sortie 
from the Isla de Leon, purposing to attack the whole 
French line, beat back the besiegers and bring the dis- 
gracefully pent-up Spanish and British troops into open 
air and active movement in the field. This bold and 
masterly project was eagerly embraced by Sir R. Keats, 
and apparently so by La Peiia. It was therefore agreed 
that whilst a bridge should be thrown across the River 
Santi Petri, a general attack should take place by the 
gunboats against the whole advanced French line from 
Ronda to Santa Maria. One obstacle however opposed : 
the bank opposite the Isla, upon which the proposed bridge 
was to rest, was with a strong force held by the enemy. 
To obviate this it was determined that a diversion should 
be made on the outposts in rear of the French lines, 
to call off his attention, whilst the bridge was laid down. 
In furtherance of this plan General Graham requested 
General Campbell to allow Colonel Browne, who com- 
manded at Tarifa, to move forward and attack Casa 
Vieja. Orders at the same time were sent by La Pena 
to the Spanish general, Beguines, who commanded at 
Alcala de los Gazules, to attack Medina Sidonia, distant 
from his post about fifteen miles due west and directly 
leading to Chiclana. 

A despatch dated January 25th was late that night 
received at Tarifa by Colonel Browne, containing orders 
from General Campbell to move forward, with all the 
troops he could take with him, to attack Casa Vieja, 
and at the same time to favour as much as possible the 
movement against Medina Sidonia by the Spanish troops. 
Pursuant to his instructions, Browne, with four hundred 


and seventy bayonets of the 28th Regiment and thirty 
artillerymen commanded by Lieutenant Mitchell, left Tarifa 
at three o'clock on the afternoon of the 26th and arrived 
at Fascinas — a distance of about twelve miles — at eight 
o'clock. Here we halted for a few hours ; and Captain 
Bowles of the regiment was detached with his company 
to watch the Vejer road and prevent our return to Tarifa 
being cut oif by any troops coming from that direction, 
since Yejer was in possession of the French. 

About twelve o'clock at night we again moved forward 
and at seven in the morning we came in sight of Casa 
Vieja, a large convent with some outhouses strongly 
fortified and garrisoned by French troops, amounting 
to upwards of a hundred men and having two twenty- 
four pounders on top of the building. This building is 
situated twenty-five miles from Tarifa, in the direction of 
Chiclana and Medina Sidonia, with which places it forms 
a triangle. We now moved forward, crossing the River 
Barbate immersed to our middle, when we were warmly 
saluted from the " Blessed old House," as the Spaniards 
called it, which at the same time sent out from twenty to- 
thirty sharpshooters. The regiment circled round to get in 
rear of the convent, while the light company driving in the 
sharpshooters took a more direct line and soon gained 
the crown of the hill immediately over the building. We 
now lay down, after descending to within pistol-shot of 
the place, and opened so hot a fire that even a sparrow 
could not live on the walls. A parley was now sounded 
and the garrison summoned to surrender, which the 
commandant without any hesitation resolutely refused to do. 
Colonel Browne thought of attacking the convent by storm, 
although he had no scaling ladders and the walls were 
very high ; but reflected that even though we should 


succeed (wbich must be attended with severe loss from 
the great strength of the works lately constructed), its 
possession to us would be useless. He judged correctly 
that his instructions would be more effectually carried out 
by allowing the post to remain in the hands of the enemy, 
and by continuing to threaten it so as to induce the 
French at Medina to detach a force to its aid. Since it 
was no part of our object to come upon the place by 
stealth, the commandant there had time in the morning, 
previous to the investment, to apprise the garrison at 
Medina of our approach and of his own danger ; and 
consequently both infantry and cavalry were immediately 
sent to his succour. 

Leaving the light company to look down on the 
convent and prevent all communication, Colonel Browne, 
with the rest of the regiment, marched towards Medina 
to favour any attack on that place. As he advanced he 
encountered the detachment sent from Medina, whom he 
attacked and put to the rout. He then halted giving his 
harassed men, who were soaked through with mud and 
rain and with wading rivers, an opportunity of refreshing 
and hoping also to induce the enemy at Medina to come 
forward. In both he fully succeeded. We had already 
with us some mounted guerillas, who were of more or 
less use ; and during Colonel Browne's halt he was for- 
tunately joined by from thirty to forty Spanish cavalry 
commanded by an officer, who gallantly did their duty 
as long as they remained with us ; and it was a well- 
authenticated fact in those days that a small body of 
Spaniards attached to or acting with a British force, when 
there were no Spanish generals with false pride to interfere, 
would proudly imitate the heroic conduct of their allies. 

The French force who now advanced from Medina were 


at least equal in infantry and far superior in cavalry to 
that commanded by Browne, who, his men now refreshed 
by their halt, retired steadily on Casa Vieja, followed 
by the enemy, whose numbers increased every moment, 
particularly in cavalry. The light company were now 
imperceptibly withdrawn from the high ground, which 
prevented those within the convent from seeing either our 
troops or those who were advancing to their aid. A few 
of the company, in very extended order and partly covered 
by the brushwood, were left, and these fired at any 
showing themselves on the walls, so that those in the fort 
were in total ignorance of what was passing so near them ; 
and thus we dreaded no attack from our rear. The light 
company having joined the regiment and the Spanish 
dragoons closed in, Colonel Browne formed line, placing some 
cavalry on either flank. The main body of cavalry, together 
with the few baggage horses and those which carried our 
provisions, were judiciously posted on a gently rising ground 
immediately in rear of our centre, which gave an imposing 
appearance. On coming closer the enemy halted, no doubt 
awaiting still stronger reinforcements, or probably imagining 
that we did not show our entire force. 

As the dusk of evening advanced. Colonel Browne, 
covering his whole front with the Spanish cavalry who 
commenced skirmishing with that of the enemy, and con- 
sidering that he had a French garrison in his rear, a 
superior force in his front, and the ground favourable for 
cavalry in which the enemy exceeded him by far, silently 
retired in the dark, recrossed the Barbate, and entered the 
gorge of the mountain pass, which being thickly planted 
with wood secured us against an attack of horsemen. On 
this night the Spaniards were to attack Medina ; but reports 
coming in frequently during the night and down to a late 


hour on the morning of the 28th, showed us that the 
enemy's troops, whom we had drawn on at such risk, had 
not retired, and therefore that Medina had not been attacked. 

Among the many messengers we sent out to collect 
information as to the movements of the Spaniards, one 
returned that forenoon, bringing a letter from the Spanish 
general stating that his troops were still in Alcald, but 
that he intended moving forward immediately. Thus all 
our hardships and risk counted for nothing. We felt 
much mortified, and would willingly have returned to 
Tarifa from a scene where in appearance at least deceit had 
been used. But Browne, faithful to his instructions, moved 
out of his stronghold as soon as he learned that the enemy, 
whom we had drawn forward, had commenced a retrograde 
movement. Succeeding again in drawing them back, he 
again retired. The opposing cavalry were by this time 
much increased. On this day we were joined by forty men 
of the Tarifa Volunteers. Our situation was comfortless, 
neither houses, tents nor huts to shelter us, and the rain 
falling heavily. It was the first time that Meacham's corps 
were ever washed clean, and the Blind Nuts began to see 
what was the varied life of a soldier. However we kept up 
a blazing fire. Frequent reports during the night stated 
that the enemy were collecting in considerable numbers in 
our front with intent to attack us ; but, confiding in the 
vigilance of the Spanish cavalry, we felt no alarm. 

Between three and four o'clock on the morning of the 
29th our attention was suddenly called by the trampling of 
horses quickly approaching. Springing up from our seats 
round the fire (lying down was out of the question from 
the heavy rain), we were instantly under arms, when an 
officer, two orderly dragoons, and a couple of armed guides 
rode up, whom we immediately recognised as Spaniards. 


The officer was aide-de-camp to General Beguines, by 
whom he was sent to Colonel Browne to inform him that 
untoward circumstances prevented an earlier attack on 
Medina Sidonia, but that it was his decided intention to 
storm it next morning, and he requested the colonel to make 
every exertion in his power to aid the assault. From what 
had already passed we felt very dubious as to Beguines' 
intentions. But there was something so noble and ingenuous 
in the deportment of the aide-de-camp, who solemnly 
pledged himself for the attack taking place, that for the 
first time we strongly suspected a Spanish general of 
sincerity ; in this instance we were not deceived. Colonel 
Browne told him that his support might be relied on, and 
instantly gave orders to prepare for march. The aide-de- 
camp having sparingly partaken of our greatest luxuries — 
salt pork and rum — mounted his steed with all that grace 
so peculiar to a Spaniard (and he was as fine-looking and 
handsome a man as I ever met), and bidding us a cordial 
farewell commended us with religious fervency to God and 
Saint Anthony and so rode off over bad roads and through 
French vedettes to inform his general that the English 
troops were already under way. 

Groping our way in the dark, we advanced, and, having 
crossed the Barbate, were informed that the enemy were 
again retiring. Hurrying on to the convent, where we 
arrived at daybreak, we instantly opened a roaring fire 
of musketry against the building, more to make a noise 
than with the expectation of producing any other effect. 
Leaving the Tarifa Volunteers with a few red soldiers 
interspersed, Colonel Browne with the regiment moved 
towards Medina. We had not proceeded far before we 
encountered a party of about sixty men, infantry and cavalry, 
who, upon hearing our fire at the convent, had turned 


round. They were instantly put to flight. Pressing 
forward towards a mill about a league and a half from 
Medina, our cavalry and guerillas, now exceeding sixty in 
number, were detached to the mill, as we knew it to be a 
^ost occupied by the enemy. On their approach the enemy 
fled, when the mill, together with strong fieldworks and 
extensive stabling recently finished, was set fire to, thus 
informing the enemy at Medina of our advance. Upon 
this, a formidable detachment were sent against us. 
Coming close, they halted for a short time, but soon 
displayed their boldness by a menacing advance, while we 
showed our judgment by steadily retiring, covered by our 
^javalry and the light company. As we fell back on 
Casa Vieja, firing was heard in the direction of Medina 
Sidonia. The enemy halted ; we conformed. On both 
sides the cavalry skirmished by long shots. This petty 
warfare continued nearly two hours, when we retired 
gradually to our position over the convent. Here Colonel 
Browne received a despatch from General Beguines inform- 
ing him that he had taken Medina, but that the enemy 
were in strong force before him, and that he anxiously 
awaited the result of the sortie from the Isla de Leon. 

Soon after this despatch had been received, the garrison 
in the convent were made acquainted with all that had 
happened in a very extraordinary manner. A large body 
of the enemy's cavalry bore directly for our position. So 
menacing was their aspect that our attention was entirely 
directed towards them, and Colonel Browne prepared to 
form square. In the meantime a French officer, winding 
unperceived round the base of the high ground which 
overlooked the convent, had the boldness to approach it 
so near as to be enabled verbally to communicate with 
the garrison. The verge of the hill, as I have already 


stated, was lined by the Tarifa Volunteers, who, not being 
accustomed to active warfare and being.drencbed by incessant 
rain, did not use tbat vigilance whicb such hostile close 
neighbours required ; and it was the loud voice of thfr 
French officer which first called their attention. Many 
of them now fired, and some of the light company running 
up followed the example ; but, the mischief being done, we: 
all rejoiced to see that the gallant officer escaped unhurt* 
It was subsequently ascertained that the communication 
thus heroically conveyed directed the commandant on 
no account to surrender, for although Medina had fallen 
that morning, it would be attacked during the night and 
the commandant strongly reinforced next morning. How- 
ever we conjectured at the moment from the fact of 
the enemy having lost Medina, that the communication 
directed the commandant to seek an opportunity of escape- 
with his garrison. The light company therefore resumed 
their old position over the convent, and the few guerillas^ 
now with us were ordered to be excessively alert. The 
regular Spanish cavalry, with the greater part of the 
guerillas, were skirmishing with the enemy in our front. 
From the time we left Tarifa, about three o'clock on the 
26th, up to the same hour on the 29th, the weather was so 
rainy and boisterous as to frustrate all the plans of the 
British general commanding at Cadiz. In consequence 
of this, double despatches were sent to Colonel Browne, 
one from Sir R. Keats (I could never learn why), the 
other from General Graham, stating that from the 
boisterous state of the weather the intended movements 
and the sortie from the Isla were postponed, and therefore 
directing his return to Tarifa as soon as possible. The 
gunboat which carried these despatches arrived at Tarifa 
only on the morning of the 29th. The naval officer ift 


charge was strictly enjoined to give his despatches into 
no other hands than those of Colonel Browne, or in his 
absence to a commissioned officer, who should be held 
responsible personally for their delivery to the colonel. 
There was no officer left in Tarifa except Lieutenant Light 
of the Grenadiers (shortly afterwards shot through the 
body at Barossa), and he but just recovering from a severe 
fit ot illness. He, though willing to undertake the duty^ 
was incapable from weakness ; and as the naval officer 
insisted on the absolute necessity of delivering the des- 
patches immediately, Assistant-Surgeon Johnson, who had 
charge of the sick, volunteered to be the bearer and 
unhesitatingly set forth. Having arrived at a small 
hamlet about two miles short of Casa Yieja and rather 
out of his direct road (he had no guide and was never 
there before), he enquired where the British troops were, 
when he was answered, " At Casa Vieja " ; and they 
pointed to the convent. He rode directly to the gate, and 
was instantly fired at from within. This took place at 
the very moment when, as I have mentioned, the light 
company were replaced immediately over the convent 
and the guerillas ordered to maintain a vigilant look-out. 
As soon as the doctor was fired at by the French from 
within, he, as was natural, wheeled round and galloped 
away at full speed, but not knowing what direction to 
take, he unfortunately took the road to Vejer, of which 
place in our present situation we felt particularly jealous. 
As the convent intervened, the doctor's approach from 
the hamlet had not been seen by us ; but when we saw 
him gallop away from it at full speed, the light company 
would certainly have fired at him had he not been instantly 
covered by the mountain round which he rode. To protect 
himself from the inclemency of the weather, which continued 



wet and stormy, he wore a bine greatcoat buttoned up to 
the chin, over which he carried a loose camlet cloak. His 
cocked hat was covered with oilskin, strapped also under 
Ms chin ; and in all he showed no appearance of a British 
officer. In his flight he was unfortunately discovered by 
some of the guerillas, who like us mistaking him for a 
French officer endeavouring to escape, rode at him with 
their lances. On such occasions the lower end of the 
lance, which is formed of an iron slide or wedge, is driven 
into a box of the same metal fitted to receive it, and is 
always attached to the saddle. The horse, when an attack 
is made, is put to his full speed thus adding his velocity 
to his strength ; and with this full force Johnson was 
struck by a lance under the elbow, breaking one of the 
bones of the forearm, and striking him to an incredible 
distance from his horse. So far the act admitted of some 
shade of justification ; but while the doctor lay on the 
ground he received many wounds before it was found that 
he was a British officer ; and before any of the regiment 
came up the guerillas had actually commenced sharing 
his garments ; one took his hat, another his cloak, and 
so on. Johnson declared that on the advance of the 
guerillas, whom he knew to be such, he pulled open his 
outer vestments to show his British uniform, while his 
assailants asserted that they themselves opened his surtout 
to take it away, and only then discovered the red coat 
by which his life was saved. However that might be, the 
act was cowardly, as they were told at the time, for eight 
or nine of these butchers attacked him at once with full 
intent to kill him. Their duty as soldiers was to take the 
doctor prisoner, supposing him to be a French officer 
which I firmly believe they did at the onset, and to 
ascertain what information he possessed; but they then 


would have lost the spoil, being well aware that in our 
presence they would not have been permitted to rob a 
prisoner naked. 

On perusing the despatches carried by the ill-fated doctor 
(who received all the attention and assistance possible 
and was immediately forwarded to Tarifa), Colonel Browne 
immediately saw the perilous situation in which we were 
placed. He was open to attack in front by an overwhelming 
force from Chiclana, where the failure of the sortie from 
Cadiz must have been known long before the information 
could have reached us, and the object of our advanced 
movement consequently discovered. His return to Tarifa 
was liable to be anticipated by pushing a force through 
Vejer, which, by moving along the coast road would have 
a much shorter distance to get to Tarifa than we had ; 
and that town, being left without any troops for its 
defence, except a few sick in hospital, must immediately 
surrender. Or again, should the enemy force Captain 
Bowles' company, detached to watch the Vejer road, 
they could come immediately in our rear and cut oif our 
retreat over the mountain road which alone was left to 
us. Any one of these measures could easily have been 
carried into effect had the enemy been a little more 
lively. They had the intelligence of the failure of the 
sortie from Cadiz long before we had ; and when General 
Graham's despatch was received we were then upwards 
of eight miles from Bowles, and therefore could give him 
no support were he attacked. Under these circumstances 
Browne hesitated not a moment how to act, and instantly 
marched from the convent, exposed to its fire, the Spanish 
cavalry still remaining behind as a check on the garrison. 
During our march Browne wrote to General Beguines, 
informing him of his communication from Cadiz and 


demanding to know whether, notwithstanding the failure 
of the sortie, he could maintain Medina Sidonia, at the 
same time candidly stating that he felt compelled to retire 
to prevent being cut off from Tarifa but that, although 
the risk was great, yet he would at all hazard await 
the general's answer on the skirts of the wood. 

We remained during the night in the comfortless and 
slobbery gorge. The despatch to Beguines was never 
answered ; but next morning the colonel received a report 
from the cavalry officer left behind to awe the convent, that 
the French had again entered Medina the previous night 
at twelve o'clock, that Beguines was retiring to Alcald, and 
that he himself with the whole of his detachment had 
been recalled to cover the retrograde movement. This report 
was dated three o'clock on the morning of the 30th, but 
reached us only at ten o'clock. An hour's time would have 
been sufficient to bring it from where it was dated. 
Whether this delay of six hours was made designedly to 
keep ns from retiring, which would prevent the troops in 
the convent from coming out, we could not say ; however, 
it looked suspicious, and to us, critically situated as we 
then were, might have proved fatal. Orders were imme- 
diately sent to Captain Bowles to retire along the mountains 
and meet us at Fascinas, while we retired direct to that 

Soon after Bowles joined, which was sonie time after our 
arrival at Fascinas, we all pushed forward for Tarifa and 
about dark arrived at Torre la Pena. Here we came on to 
the plain of Tarifa, which in consequence of the late con- 
tinued rains now presented a sheet of water extending to 
the town, a distance of from three to four miles. Our way 
seemed a continuation of the ocean close on our right, the 
waters frequently intermixing ; however, wade it we must. 



This operation to strangers would be attended with much 
danger from the numerous pits and deep ruts throughout ; 
but as scarcely a day had passed during nine months upon 
which some of us had not ridden or walked from the town 
to the tower, we trusted to our recollection and pushed 
forward to Tarifa, where we safely arrived late at night 
without any serious accident. While we were wading 
through the waters a lieutenant of the regiment was 
soused over head and ears, and when drawn out ejaculated, 
'twixt joke and earnest, "Ah, if my poor mother saw me 
now ! " This pathetic speech caused a general laugh, and 
whenever any similar accident befell, some mother sister 
or lover was called upon, which kept up the merriment 
until we arrived. A laughable or humorous expression 
coming from a fellow sufferer has more effect in rousing 
the energies and diverting the men from bending under 
fatigue than the most studied and eloquent harangue 
delivered by any who do not actually participate in their 
hardships. Were I to undertake a long and fatiguing 
march with a body of soldiers, I should prefer being 
accompanied by a man in the ranks who could and would 
occasionally sing a humorous or exhilarating song than by 
a Demosthenes or a Cicero travelling at his ease. Those 
who have accompanied soldiers in long and forced marches 
must have remarked how quickly and cheerfully the men 
fall into their proper places, timing their step to the cadence 
of the song, and with what renovated vigour they press 

In this expedition, as in all others which we made from 
Tarifa (too numerous to be mentioned), we were accompanied 
by Lieutenant Mitchell, Royal Artillery. In Tarifa he was 
an artilleryman, pointing the guns from the bastion most 
exposed ; in the field he was a light bob, foremost in prick- 


ing for the foe ; and on the occasion just mentioned he 
acted in a third capacity, for he reconnoitred the fort of 
Casa Vieja, guessed its capabilities from outward demon- 
stration, ascertained the strength of its defences by personal 
observation and formally reported thereon with all the 
inherent pomp and acquired gravity of a Eoyal Engineer. 

Although our little campaign lasted no more than five 
days, yet it was very severe from our having suffered much 
hardship and privation. We were sparingly fed ; during 
the whole time drenched through by continual exposure to 
rain, without any sort of shelter whatever. Six times we 
crossed the Barbate Kiver up to our middle ; we approached 
no habitation save the " Blessed old House," its fire not 
wholesome ; we had enough of marching over infamous 
roads ; and we finally terminated our expedition on the 
evening of the fifth day by wading for the last three miles 
through a lake. Yet as soon as we changed our dress and 
sat down to a smoking mess dinner, all our hardships were 
forgotten, and long before we retired to repose our thoughts 
and conversation were occupied alone in speculations on 
our next enterprise. So lives a soldier I Our men were 
again ready for the field on the next day but one. Poor 
Meacham was sadly annoyed at being recommended to 
expose his Nuts to the sun for at least a fortnight to save 
them from perishing by mildew. 




/^N the day following that upon which we returned to 
^-^ Tarifa I was sent to Gibraltar with despatches giving 
an account of our late movements to the lieutenant-governor, 
who was much pleased with the conduct of the regiment 
in general, but particularly with that of Colonel Browne 
for the determined and judicious manner in which he 
conducted the whole of the operations, as was fully testified 
by General Beguines in a despatch written to General 
Campbell on the subject. 

Rather excited than depressed by the failure of the 
intended sortie from Cadiz, General Graham, the resources 
of whose mind multiplied in proportion as difficulties 
appeared, still insisted not only on the local advantages 
to be gained by a sortie before Soult should return with 
reinforcements, but also that to boldly march out from the 
strongest hold in Spain and undauntedly maintain the war 
in the open field would inspire the nation with confidence 
and stimulate the whole population to the deeds of national 
glory which Spaniards were wont to perform. He con- 
tended that with such sentiments properly directed the 
Spaniards alone were an overmatch for any invading nation, 
and would shortly succeed in freeing their country and 
driving every Frenchman in Spain down the northern side 
of the Pyrenees. These arguments could not be opposed 



even by General La Peiia, who opposed everything except 
the enemy. It was therefore arranged that seven thousand 
Spaniards and three thousand British troops should embark 
at Cadiz and sailing to Tarifa there descend, since that 
was the nearest place which the allies possessed in rear of 
the enemy's lines. To facilitate this enterprise General 
Graham made a sacrifice not easily paralleled. He ceded 
the chief command to his ally, thus patriotically giving up 
the certainty of personal fame as a leader for the honour 
of his country's arms and the prosperity of the general 
cause ; and such was the confidence he felt in the valour 
of the British troops under his command and in the happy 
results, if La Pena would only do his duty towards his 
country, or do anything except what was glaringly wrong, 
that he condescended to serve under the Spanish general, 
and that too against the opinion of Lord Wellington, who 
recommended him never to move out of Cadiz to execute 
any movement except in chief command. The duke well 
knew by dearly bought experience of what leaven Spanish 
generals were moulded. He knew that it required the 
utmost exertions of a British general to persuade those of 
Spain to save their own corps, without calculating on more. 
Of this Cuesta gave convincing proof by his movements 
before the battle of Talavera, by his inertness and incapacity 
while the battle raged and above all by his disgraceful 
conduct after the battle was fought, on account of which 
his lordship felt compelled for the safety of his own troops 
to separate from the Spanish army, bidding them farewell 
with feelings of respect for the gallant soldiers, of contempt 
for the vanity and ignorance of their commanders, and of 
distrust of the government who would have devoted their 
allies and compromised the honour and independence of 
their country for personal ambition and mean self-interested 



motives. Spanish character in the different branches was 
discovered rather too late for his advantage by Sir John 
Moore, who portrayed it in its true colours for the informa- 
tion of His Majesty's counsellors and the guidance of his 
successors in Spain. 

It was now agreed that Generals La Pena and Graham 
should march immediately after disembarkation against 
the rear of the enemy's lines, force a passage to the con- 
tinental bank of the Santi Petri River, and by dislodging 
the French from the posts which they there occupied cover 
the construction of the bridge and the sortie from the Isla 
de Leon. The Spanish general, Zayas, who was appointed 
to the command at Cadiz during La Peiia's absence, was 
directed to second the project if the opportune moment 
should arrive. 

All being now ready, General Graham with the British 
troops sailed from Cadiz on February 21st for Tarifa. 
This place presenting only a roadstead and the wind 
blowing fresh on the 22nd, when the general came before 
it, a descent was found impracticable, and he therefore 
proceeded to Algesiras, where he landed, and marching 
over an excessively bad road arrived on the evening of the 
23rd at Tarifa. The weather continuing boisterous, the 
troops halted to await the Spaniards ; and Major Duncan's 
brigade of guns, which had been disembarked at Algesiras, 
had to be put on board again and brought by water to 
Tarifa on account of the state of the road, over which a 
wheelbarrow could not be rolled without disaster. 

At Tarifa the 28th Regiment were garrisoned under the 
command of Colonel Belson, who had rejoined a few days 
previously from England. General Graham being well 
acquainted with the old corps, particularly during the 
campaign of Sir John Moore, requested General Campbell's 


leave to lead it during the expedition, which was granted ; 
but the lieutenant-governor, not forgetting Colonel Browne's 
eminent services during his long command at Tarifa under 
many critical circumstances, sent the flank companies of 
the 9th and 82nd Regiments from Gibraltar, which, together 
with those of the 28th Eegiment, were to be placed under 
the command of Colonel Browne, thus giving him an in- 
dependent flank battalion, subject to no orders but those 
coming direct from General Graham. 

During the few days which the British troops spent 
at Tarifa our time was passed in that jovial conviviality 
always to be observed among British soldiers on the opening 
of a campaign. This formed a remarkable era in the history 
of the 28th Regiment, never equalled in any other corps. 
They formed the proper garrison of Tarifa, and having been 
quartered there for some time were the only regiment which 
had an established mess. The town furnished but one 
posada, or inn if it may be so called ; and this afforded but 
little accommodation to so large a concourse as that now 
assembled. Upwards of a hundred and fifty officers dined 
at our mess daily ; those of the regiment, together with 
those of the flank companies sent from Gibraltar, who were 
of course honorary members, amounted to nearly fifty, for 
the officers of the 28th Regiment, never being much addicted 
to dep6t duty, always mustered strong at headquarters. 

Our mess-room was very spacious, and at either end was 
a room which entered into it ; not only these three, but 
in fact every room in the house, had tables put down ; and 
many there were who felt glad to procure a dinner even in 
the kitchen. The draught on our cellar was deep, and profit- 
ing by the experience of the first day of the jubilee, on the 
second day, the 24th, we passed a restriction act limiting 
each officer to a pint of port and half a bottle of claret ; 


but notwitlistanding this precaation, we ran a pipe of port 
dry in less than four days. Porter and brandy, being easily 
procured, were not subject to restriction ; a great part of 
these was disposed of in the kitchen and the small rooms 
by the mess-man as his private speculation. It was calcu- 
lated that, including port claret brandy and porter, two 
thousand bottles were emptied in our mess-house within the 
week. Our wine accounts, as must be evident under such 
circumstances, were mach confused and difficult to keep, 
since it was no easy matter to ascertain with whom each 
visitor had dined. The mess waiter was sent round daily 
to ascertain this fact, so necessary for the guidance of the 
wine committee. Discrepancies not unfrequently occurred 
between the highly favoured host and the too obliging 
guest. I recollect the mess waiter telling Colonel Belson 

one day that Lieutenant-Colonel A n said he dined 

with him, upon which Belson remarked to the guest, 

loud enough to be heard by many, " A n, you do not 

dine with me." The other very humorously replied, "Oh, 
I beg pardon — I made a mistake ; now I recollect, it was 
for to-morrow I was engaged to you." " There you are 
mistaken again," said Belson ; " it was for yesterday, when 
you did not forget." These circumstances I recollect well, 
as I happened to be president of the mess for that week. 
Colonel Belson would not allow me to cede the chair, and 
always sat on my left hand. Our mess-man, a sergeant 
of the regiment named Farrel, although he piqued himself 
on an acquaintance with algebra, yet with all the aid of 
the assumed numbers, ABC, could never discover the 
unknown quantities consumed. He went into the field 
at Barossa, but was never heard of afterwards. Among the 
slain he was not ; and, enquiries being made at the French 
headquarters, he was not one of the few prisoners taken 


with a part of our baggage which fell into the hands of the 
enemy previous to the commencement of the action, "when 
the Spaniards in their way lived to fight another day." 
It is more than probable that in the annals of warfare no 
regiment has ever had an opportunity of enjoying themselves 
to such an extent as the 28th Eegiment while General 
Graham's army remained at Tarifa. We were happy to 
see our friends, who, to do them justice, waiving all 
ceremony showed us extraordinary attention. 

Even the sergeants contrived to procure a room, where 
they enjoyed themselves as much as the officers in the 
mess-room ; and their jokes, if not equally refined, were 
not the less entertaining. Being a member of the mess 
committee, my avocations obliged me to keep a vigilant 
look-out through all parts of the house, which gave me 
an opportunity of hearing unobserved many of the jests 
and repartees which took place in the sergeants' room, or 
debating society, as it was termed. But although these 
were at times rather sharp, still perfect good-humour 
prevailed throughout. The principal spokesmen, if my 
memory fail not, were a Sergeant Turnbull of the Guards, 
and a Sergeant O'Brien, of the 87th Regiment. They 
were most determined opponents, and each had a bigoted 
attachment to his own country, in support of which he- 
poured forth witty and pungent repartees to the great 
entertainment of the auditors. 

On one occasion, while I was on my way to our cellar, 
which was fast falling into consumption, my steps were 
arrested by loud bursts of laughter issuing from the 
debating-room. The first words which I distinctly heard 
were, " 0, 0, I You are all ' O's ' in Ireland ! " 

This remark evidently came from the Guardsman, when 
O'Brien drily replied, " * ' means * from,' or ^ the de- 


scendant of ' ; therefore I am not surprised at its being 
ridiculed by persons of your country, where long line of 
descent is so difficult to be traced." 

" And pray, Mr. 0, from whom are you descended ? " 

" From Bryan Boro, the Great Boro." 

" And surely * Boro ' must be a corruption of the Spanish 
word * Burro,' which signifies * an ass' ? " 

Then Pat grew eloquent on the deeds of his great ancestor, 
who at the age of eighty gained a most glorious victory over 
the invading Danes on the celebrated plains of Clontarf. 
Equally eloquent was he also on the demerits of the 
Englishmen of that ancient time, until cried out the British 
sergeant with a fine scorn : 

" I like to hear a fellow of your kind, with your beggarly 
Irish pride, talking of records and historical facts ! Look 
to the history of your own country to learn its disgrace. 
What have you ever done or achieved except through 
murders, robbery, cruelty, bloodshed and treachery ? Have 
you not always been fighting amongst yourselves, or against 
your masters, since we did you the honour of conquering 

" If we compare notes about murder and treachery, you 
need not fear being left in the background," retorted the 
Irishman ; " and as to the honour of being conquered, faith ! 
I cannot cope with you in your dignities there, for I cannot 
deny that you have been honoured in that way by Romans, 
and by Danes, and by Saxons, and by Picts, and by 

"Your arguments," at last said the Englishman, after 
some further exchange of historical fragments, '^ might pass 
without contempt had they not been delivered with such 
a disgusting brogue. I should recommend you to go back 
again to some charity school — I mean, in England." 


" If I intended to go to a charity school, it should 
certainly be in England. In my country it is only the 
destitute who go ; but in yours it is the rich men who send 
their sons on to the * foundations ' of the public schools 
which were originally intended for the education of poor 
clergymen's sons. With respect to my brogue, which you 
civilly term disgusting, it is our national accent and not 
disgusting to native ears, although to us the language is 
foreign. But I should like to know with what accent your 
countrymen spoke bastard French when it was crammed 
down their throats with a rod of iron for upwards of three 
hundred years ? " 

" A language does not go down the throat," said the 
Englishman ; " it comes up, at least in every other country 
except Ireland. I make you a present of the bull, although 
there is no necessity for the donation, for all bulls are 

" How are all bulls Irish ? " 

"Because England, your mother-country, has ceded 
all bulls to you as being legitimately Irish." 

" I don't understand how you make out England to be 
our mother-country. Step-mother is the proper term to 
give her ; and, faith ! a true step-mother she has proved 
herself to be." 

Thus raged the fight amid the laughter and encourage- 
ment of the hearers, until, being president of the mess, I 
was reluctantly obliged to return to the mess-room. 

During the stay of the British army at Tarifa strong 
working parties were constantly employed in levelling the 
roads, which the French engineers had frequently reported 
impassable for artillery ; however, profiting by our exertions 
in the present instance, they subsequently brought guns 
against Tarifa. 


The stormy weather having somewhat abated, the second 
division of the fleet, laden with La Pena and seven thousand 
Spaniards, arrived off Tarifa on the morning of the 27th. 
It still blew fresh ; but owing to the indefatigable exertions 
of the navy the astonished Spaniards found themselves 
all disembarked before the evening. Again they were 
startled at the activity of the British general, who would 
have marched that night. The forward state in which the 
British were induced the Spaniards to proclaim their army 
also in movable condition. La Pena and his troops thus 
prepared and the roads made passable for artillery, the 
march was announced for the morrow. 

The night of the 27th being the last jovial one the army 
were to pass at Tarifa, one hundred and ninety-one officers 
dined at the mess. The exhilarating juice of the grape was 
freely quaffed from out the crystal cup, and the inspiring 
songs of love and war went joyfully round, and the con- 
clusion of each animating strophe was loudly hailed with 
choral cheers ; for such is the composition of a soldier that 
the object of his love and his country's foe alike call forth 
the strongest and most indomitable effusions of his heart, 
so closely allied is love to battle. Hilarity and mirth 
reigned throughout. Lively sallies of wit cheerfully 
received as guilelessly shot forth added brilliancy to the 
festive board. Officers having entered their profession 
young, mutual attachment was firmly cemented, genuine 
and disinterested. Each man felt sure that he sat between 
two friends ; worldly considerations, beyond legitimate 
pleasures and professional ambition, were banished from 
our thoughts. The field of glory was present to our view 
and equally open to all ; none meanly envied the proud 
distinctions which chance of war fortunately threw in the 
way of others. Oh, what an odious change I have lived 


to witness! But the days of our youth are the days of 
our friendship, our love and our glory. A fig for the 
friendship commenced after the age of sixteen or seventeen, 
when the cool, calculating and sordid speculations of man 
suffocate the fervid and generous feelings of youth ! 



/^UR revels continued natil the morning ; and in the 
^^ morning, while many a Spanish fair with waving 
hands and glistening eyes was seen in the balcony, we 
marched out of Tarifa with aching heads but glowing 

Towards evening we halted, and the army was modelled. 
The leading divison was placed under the command of 
General Lardizabal, an officer in every way qualified for 
the post. The Prince of Anglona was appointed to the 
centre or principal body of the Spaniards ; but with 
this body La Pefia remained. Two regiments of Spanish 
guards, the Walloons and that of the Royal City, were 
attached to the British troops, commanded by General 
Graham ; this corps were termed the reserve. The artillery 
were attached fortunately to the troops of their respective 
nations ; but by some courteous mismanagement two 
squadrons of German hussars were united to the Spanish 
cavalry under the command of Colonel Whittingham, and 
thus attached to the Spanish army. This officer held 
higher rank in the Spanish army, and, if I recollect right, 
commanded a corps of Spanish cavalry, clad and paid by 
England ; but their movements were peculiarly Spanish. 

On March 1st La Pena moved towards Casa Vieja, 
and marched the whole army in column of companies 

177 12 


nearly within gunshot of that post ; and while moving 
along the plain close to the " Blessed old House," the 
column was reduced to subdivisions, giving the enemy full 
opportunity of counting every man in the army. Whether 
this extraordinary mode of procedure arose from treachery 
or ignorance cannot be asserted, for at that time it was 
difficult to distinguish one from the other in the movements 
of Spanish generals. However that may be, the circum- 
stance was loudly censured by all. As soon as the army 
halted, General Graham mentioned this oversight to La 
Pena ; yet it was not until next morning and after the 
whole allied army had passed the post mentioned on its 
route to Medina Sidonia, that the British general obtained 
permission to dislodge the enemy from the convent. The 
light company of the 28th Regiment, having made close 
acquaintance with the post not long previously, were sent 
on this duty. On our approach the enemy evacuated the 
convent. As we were not able to come up with them, a 
party of the German hussars were sent in pursuit, by whom 
they were soon overtaken. But although thus threatened 
by cavalry, they considered it unadvisable to form square 
as the light company were fast approaching ; they there- 
fore turned round and formed line. Here some untoward 
work took place on both sides. The French, seeing no 
possibility of escape, remained steady until the Germans 
were close upon them, when they deliberately fired a volley 
at them and then threw down their arms ; two of the 
cavalry were killed and others wounded. The Germans, 
enraged at their loss and justly considering it an act of 
wanton and useless bloodshed, charged the unfortunate 
defenceless wretches, sparing not a man ; all were cut 
down. I never in my life witnessed in so small an affair 
such mutilation of human beings. When they were carried 


into the convent yard the doctor of the 82nd Eegiment, 
attached to the flank battalion, declined to dress their 
wounds, as it was totally impossible that any one of them 
could survive. The light company were left on piquet or 
rearguard in the convent during the day, with orders to 
join the army after dusk at Medina Sidonia. Not long 
after this we were all astonished at seeing the whole army 
retiring, but could descry no enemy to account for the 
movement ; however, it appeared that as La Pena moved 
on Medina he was informed by some roving Spanish soldiers 
whom he met that Medina had lately been reinforced. 
Upon this information alone he made the retrograde move- 
ment, which cost the Spaniards many lives and might have 
been fatal to the Spanish cause ; but of this in its place. 
Thenceforth La Pena was distrusted by every British 
soldier, and the constancy of General Graham in accom- 
panying him farther is to be much admired. At nightfall 
the piquet joined its own battalion, not at Medina, but on 
the very ground whence the army moved that morning. 

On the morning of the 3rd, taking nearly an opposite 
direction to that of Medina, the army moved towards Vejer. 
This day's march was excessively harassing. A causeway, 
along which we must pass, was constructed over the edge 
of a lake ; and the heavy rains had so swollen the waters 
that not a vestige of the causeway was perceptible. Our 
guides were guerillas, but imperfectly acquainted with the 
place ; and thus many of our men in attempting the 
passage fell into the deep. Even along the causeway, 
when discovered, we were up to our middle in water ; the 
track was marked by placing men on the submerged road. 
The British general with his staff stood in the water to 
guide and animate the soldiers during their aquatic move- 
ment. Having passed this obstacle, which occupied much 


time, we pushed on to Yejer, from which we dislodged the 
enemy there posted. The town is built on a high conical hill 
looking down on the celebrated Bay of Trafalgar, where 
every breast was filled with thoughts of the immortal 
Nelson. From this eminence the enemy had a full view 
of the surrounding country, and not only could discover all 
our movements as we approached, but, as on the preceding 
day when we were passing the convent, were enabled to 
ascertain our exact strength. 

On the afternoon of the 4th, about three o'clock, the 
army again moved forward, before the men's clothing 
and appointments were dry. General Graham, previous 
to leaving Tarifa, requested La Pena to make short 
marches, and thus bring the troops fresh into action. 
But the Spanish general, as is common with the 
weak, imagining that genius was marked by diversity of 
opinion and mistaking mulish obstinacy for unshaken 
determination, disregarded this sound advice. He acted 
on the principle of differing from the British general in 
everything ; and accordingly he marched the army for 
sixteen hours, the greater part of the time during a cold 
night, making frequent momentary halts, which always 
tend to harass rather than refresh troops. 

On the dawn of the 5th our advanced guard of cavalry 
(Spanish) were encountered and worsted by a few French 
dragoons ; the affair was trifling, yet its moral influence 
was sensibly felt throughout the day. Cold, wearied, 
dejected but not disheartened, we still moved forward, 
until the sun, rising with unusual splendour and genial 
warmth, dissipated the drowsiness, which but a moment pre- 
viously bowed down every head, and roused us to wonted 
animation. On opening our eyes to broad daylight, we 
found ourselves on the south-west skirts of Chiclana plain. 

XVI.] LETTER OF LA PE55a. i8i 

On the evening of February 27th La Peiia had written 
from Tarifa to General Zaj^as communicating his intention 
to move forward next day, and stating that Medina Sidonia. 
would be in his possession on the 2nd of the ensuing 
month, and that he would be close to the Isla de Leon 
on the evening of the 3rd. Zayas, acting on mail- 
coach time, regardless of unforseen contingencies, bad- 
ness of roads or any other obstacles which might retard 
La Pena's advance, and without ascertaining whether 
that general was close at hand or not, trusting only 
to his watch for regulating his measures, laid down the 
bridge on the night of the '^rd. The following day passed 
without any appearance of La Pena or the British troops. 
The enemy, taking advantage of this delay, attacked the 
bridge on the night of the 4th with their piquets and 
small detachments, killed and wounded many Spaniards, 
took three hundred prisoners and broke two links of the 
bridge. It was through mere good fortune that the Isla 
did not fall into their hands. At the critical moment 
Captain A. Hunt, R.A., with the ten-inch howitzers, arrived 
and supported a charge made by a Spanish regiment over 
the bridge of boats, and so the enemy were repulsed. 
But if Marshal Victor had been more active, and had 
marched down six or eight thousand men during the 4th 
and screened them behind Bermeja Castle until night, and 
then made his attack with such a force, instead of with 
some six or seven hundred, there is not the slightest 
doubt but that he would have taken the Isla, and then 
either defended or destroyed the bridge. Under such 
circumstances the allied army would have been compelled 
to retire to Gibraltar to avoid Sebastiani, who, upon 
learning that Victor was in possession of the Isla, would 
of course have come forward with an overwhelming force. 


It was in consequence of the losses sustained at the 
bridge on the night of the 4th and morning of the 5th, 
together with the imminent danger in which the Isla de 
Leon was of being taken, that I ventured to say that 
La Pena's dastardly retreat from Medina Sidonia cost 
the Spaniards many lives, and might have been fatal to 
the Spanish cause. La Peila's proceedings on our arrival 
at the plain of Chiclana were equally absurd and dangerous. 
Early on that morning (the 5th) he ordered General 
Lardizabal down to the Santi Petri point without giving 
or receiving any information whatever. Not even a gun 
was fired to give notice to those in the Isla of our arrival, 
nor was it ascertained whether the bridge was strongly 
defended or in whose possession it actually was. The 
proceedings of Zayas and La Peiia ofi'er a correct specimen 
of the manner in which combined movements were 
executed by Spanish generals ; all acted independently 
and generally in direct opposition to each other. On this 
occasion Lardizabal acted gallantly. Having beaten away 
a strong force of the enemy from the Santi Petri point, he 
established communication with Zayas, thus enabling him 
with three thousand Spanish troops and an immense park 
of artillery to pass from the Isla over the bridge. 

The army, as already mentioned, entered the plain of 
Chiclana early on the morning of the 5th, close to a low 
mountain ridge called Cerro de Puerco, or " the boar's 
neck," from its curving shape bristling with pine trees, 
and from the number of those animals always to be found 
there. This ridge, distant from the point of Santi Petri 
about four miles, gradually descends for nearly a mile and 
a half to the Chiclana plain. On its north side the plain 
is broken by ravines, pits and rugged ground ; a large 
pine forest hems it on all sides at unequal distances. 


Situated midway between the hill and Santi Petri point, 
close to the western point of Oerro de Puerco, stands 
La Torre, or the Tower of Barossa. The eastern point 
of this ridge looks upon the space between Chiclana and 
the Santi Petri ; whilst its western boundary looks down 
upon the boat road leading from Vejer to Bermeja and 
the Isla de Leon, passing within less than half a mile 
of the tower above mentioned. 

In preparing for the battle General Graham, like an 
experienced soldier, pointed out to La Peiia all the ad- 
vantages which the ground offered, insisting on the absolute 
necessity of occupying the ridge of Barossa with their 
strongest force, it being the key of the whole ground. But 
the Spanish general, indignant at having his proper line 
pointed out by a foreigner, spurned his advice and being 
borne out by his Adjutant-General Lacy, ordered the 
British general to proceed to Bermeja to maintain the com- 
munication between the allied troops in the field and those 
in the Isla. General Graham, although naturally courteous 
and through policy yielding, yet on this occasion absolutely 
refused obedience until the Spaniard pledged himself to 
post on the heights of Barossa a Spanish force at least 
equal to that commanded by the British general. Long 
before his movement down to Bermeja, he detached Colonel 
Browne with his battalion to occupy the western point 
of Barossa. There we were shortly afterwards joined by 
the Walloon and the Ciudad Real regiments of guards. 
To this body were subsequently added three other Spanish 
battalions, four guns, and all the allied cavalry, commanded, 
as I have already said, by Colonel Whittingham. The 
whole were under the orders of General Cruz-Murgeon, 
accompanied by Brigadier-General Beguines, and all, as 
we thought, determined to do their duty. 


Soon after General Graham with the British division 
had moved from the plain through the pine grove 
towards Bermeja, Marshal Victor, who anxiously watched 
the movements of the allies, seeing their troops at three 
different points, Barossa, Santi Petri and Bermeja, moved 
forward from Chiclana towards the road which leads from 
Vejer. This movement was not immediately perceived by 
us, the Spaniards being placed between onr battalion and 
the point mentioned ; but a confused and hasty movement 
on their part induced the colonel to send me to ascertain 
the cause. I was told by General Cruz-Murgeon that they 
merely wished to take ground to our left ; but seeing 
the hurry of the Spaniards increase, I instantly galloped 
beyond their extreme flank, and now discovered the French 
cavalry moving towards the coast road and rather inclining 
towards our position. Retiring quickly, I reported the 
circumstance to Colonel Browne. 

By this time the greater part of the Spanish troops 
had passed between us and the coast road and were soon 
in rapid march towards the beach leading to Bermeja. 
Colonel Browne strongly and rather indignantly remon- 
strated against their conduct. At this period Colonel 
Whittingham rode up, and addressing Colonel Browne said, 
" Colonel Browne, what do you intend to do ? " The reply 
was, " What do I intend to do, sir ? I intend to fight the 
French." Whittingham then remarked, " You may do 
as you please. Colonel Browne, but we are decided on a 
retreat." " Very well, sir," replied Browne ; ^^ I shall stop 
where I am, for it shall never be said that John Frederick 
Browne ran away from the post which his general ordered 
him to defend." Generals Murgeon and Beguines were 
present during the conversation, and as they expressed a 
wish to know its exact import, I informed them word for 


word in plain Spanish, which I pledge myself was a correct 
and full interpretation, and could not be misunderstood. 
Colonel Whittingham again addressed Colonel Browne, 
saying, " If you will not come with us but wish to retire 
on General Graham's division, I shall give you a squadron 
of cavalry to cover your retreat." Browne wheeled round, 
making no answer ; and thus a formidable corps, composed 
of two regiments of Royal Spanish Guards, three regiments 
of the line, a park of artillery and a strong force of cavalry, 
all well armed clad and appointed, undaunted by the 
scowling frowns of their allies and the reproachful taunts 
of their own countrymen, were not afraid to run away. 
They retrograded with firm tread ; nor faltering step nor 
slow was seen, and not one longing lingering look was 
cast behind. They left four hundred and seventy British 
bayonets bristling on the neck of the boar. 

The Spaniards being now out of the way and soon out 
of sight. Colonel Browne directed Lieutenant Sparks, 30th 
Regiment, who acted as engineer, to loophole a chapel 
which stood on the summit of the hill. Some men were 
loosely thrown in, and the remainder of our little battalion 
formed three sides of an oblong square, the low tower 
or chapel supplying the fourth face. 

By this time the French cavalry had gained the coast 
road, probably either to cut off the retreat of the allies 
by that route or to prevent any troops coming by way 
of Vejer. Be that as it may, they now turned directly 
towards us. On approaching nearly within musket range, 
they opened right and left, apparently to gain both 
our flanks ; and now for the first time their artillery 
were discovered not far behind, and at the same moment 
their infantry were seen moving forward, darkening 
the distant part of the plain which skirts the town of 


Chiclana. Hesitation would now be madness. Our men 
were instantly withdrawn from the chapel, and forming 
column of quarter distance we proceeded quickly down 
the hill towards the pine forest which shut out Bermeja 
from our view. The enemy's horsemen were soon on every 
side of our little column and kept gradually closing in ; 
but dreading that, before we could get away to a sufficient 
distance from the hill, the artillery, which we had seen 
whipping over the plain, would open their fire upon us, 
we durst not halt to form square ; our situation was rather 
perplexing, but we were determined. In this order we 
moved rapidly down the hill, which being uneven and 
woody favoured our retreat ; but on crossing a ravine we 
became more exposed, having entered on comparatively 
level ground, scarce of wood. Colonel Browne now threw 
out a few loose files, but not far from each angle of the 
column, to warn the cavalry ofi", some few of whom were 
hurt by their fire. To say the truth, the cavalry showed 
rather a wavering inclination than a firm determination 
to charge us. Having passed over the level ground, we 
touched the skirts of the forest, and on our forming line 
the cavalry drew off. 

During these operations General Graham, entangled in 
the pine forest, was pressing forward towards Bermeja, 
when two peasants rode breathless up to him, stating that 
the whole French army, headed by Marshal Victor, were 
rapidly crossing the plain of Chiclana and coming down 
on his rear. Upon this he immediately turned round and 
soon perceived the Spaniards, who had fled from the hill, 
posting along towards the coast ; and since these were 
mistaken for French, the English troops were on the point 
of firing into them. At this moment Captain Calvert, 
having discovered something red through the thick foliage 


of the wood, cried out, *' That must be Colonel Browne's 
flank battalion," and darting forward soon discovered his 
surmise to be fact. General Graham came forth instantly 
to meet us, saying, " Browne, did I not give you orders 
to defend Barossa Hill ? " " Yes, sir," said Browne ; " but 
you would not have me fight the whole French army with 
four hundred and seventy men ? " " Had you not," replied 
the general, " five Spanish battalions, together with artillery 
and cavalry ? " " Oh ! " said Browne ; " they all ran away 
long before the enemy came within cannon-shot." The 
general coolly replied, " It is a bad business, Browne ; you 
must instantly turn round and attack." " Very well," said 
the colonel ; " am I to attack in extended order as flankers, 
or as a close battalion ? " " In open order," was the reply, 
and the general returned to the troops in the wood. 

All this time we never saw our English comrades, though 
they were close before us, so dense was the wood. The flank 
battalion were instantly extended into skirmishing order, 
which had scarcely been done when the general again rode 
back to Colonel Browne, saying, " I must show something 
more serious than skirmishing ; close the men into compact 
battalion." " That I will, with pleasure," cried the colonel ; 
" for it is more in my way than light bobbing." The order 
to close on the centre was instantly bugled out, during 
which movement the colonel sent to know from the general, 
who had again retired, if he was to advance as soon as 
formed, and whether he was to attack immediately in his 
front or more towards his right. The answer was, " Attack 
in your front, and immediately." 

All being now ready. Colonel Browne rode to the front 
of the battalion and taking ofi" his hat said in a voice to be 
heard by all, " Gentlemen, I am happy to be the bearer 
of good news : General Graham has done you the honour of 


being the first to attack those fellows. Now follow me, 
yon rascals ! " He pointed to the enemy, and giving the 
order to advance broke into his favourite air : 

" Now, cheer up, my brave lads ! To glory we steer, 
To add something new to this wonderful year." 

Thus we moved forward with four hundred and sixty-eight 
men and twenty-one officers to attack the position, upon 
which but three-quarters of an hour previously we had 
stood in proud defiance of the advancing foe, but which was 
now defended by two thousand Rye hundred infantry and 
eight pieces of artillery, together with some cavalry. To 
this force were added two battalions of chosen grenadiers, 
commanded by General Rousseau, the whole under the 
orders of the General of Division, Rufin. 



rpHE result of the conflict between such a force and our 
-*- lone little battalion, whose strength I have already 
mentioned, must be anticipated. The enemy, seeing so 
small a force, detached from any apparent support, advanc- 
ing against them, allowed us to approach close ; and the 
orders given by Colonel Browne were that not a shot 
should be fired, but to proceed to work as soon as possible 
with the bayonet. As soon as we crossed the ravine close 
to the base of the hill and formed on the opposite side, a 
most tremendous roar of cannon and musketry was all at 
once opened, Rufin's whole division pointing at us with 
muskets, and eight pieces of ordnance sending forth their 
grape, firing as one salvo. Nearly two hundred of our men 
and more than half the officers went down by this first 
volley, thus opening the battle propitiously for them. We 
now literally stood in extended order ; the battalion was 
checked. In closing on the centre and endeavouring to 
form a second efficient line, upwards of fifty more men and 
some officers were levelled with the earth ; and all the 
exertions of Colonel Browne could not form a third line. 
We had by this time lost upwards of two hundred and 
fifty men and fourteen officers, between killed and wounded ; 
the remainder of the battalion now scattered. The men 



commenced firing from behind trees, mounds or any cover 
which presented, and could not be got together. 

When I say that out of twenty-one officers — the whole 
number who originally went into action — fourteen were 
put hors de combat, this latter number might be given as 
nineteen ; for two officers only of the battalion were now 
to be seen standing on the field, Colonel Browne and the 
humble author of these Memoirs (wounded). The colonel 
now addressed me, saying, " I shall go and join the Guards ; 
will you come ? " I declined the proposition, remarking 
that not being just then firm on my legs, it jwould take 
me some time to arrive at where the Guards were ; that 
he was unhurt and mounted and could confidently go. 
His character for bravery had been established throughout 
the army for many years ; but as for me, although I 
had seen a good deal of service, particularly during the 
campaign of Sir John Moore, still I was a very young 
man, and I therefore told him that so long as three men 
of the battalion stood together and I was able to stand with 
them, I should not separate from them. 

The colonel galloped ofi* and joined the Guards, who 
were at that moment passing at some distance in rear of 
where our right flank originally stood, now marked only 
by our dead. The Guards moved forwards with astonishing 
celerity and steadiness, although not formed and exposed 
at the time to a tremendous fire of grape and musketry. 
To this new scene of slaughter it was that Colonel Browne 
directed his course. 

When the flank battalion were first ordered to advance, 
we were not in sight of the other British troops ; but as 
we approached the ravine, casting a glance behind we 
discovered the Guards emerging from the forest. They 
presented neither line nor column, a confused mass showing 


no order whatever, one order alone excepted, and that 
they gallantly maintained thronghout the day : it was 
the order to advance against the foe. Every roundshot 
which struck their mass passed over our heads, we then 
being close under the hill upon which the enemy were 

The first advance of General Dikes' brigade was 
directly in our rear. This direction was continued until 
the wood, which stretched forward immediately on his 
right flank, was cleared. His brigade then brought up 
their left shoulders until our right flank was passed. 
Dikes now brought forward his right, and extending his 
line gallantly pressed on to attack the left of Rufin's 
division, made heavy by General Eousseau's grenadiers. 

Soon after Colonel Browne's departure. Captain (long 
since lieutenant-colonel) Calvert, General Graham's aide- 
de-camp, rode up to where I was carrying on a kind of 
fight with a very few men about me. Perceiving the 
destruction around, and seeing some soldiers straggling 
and firing some way in the rear, he requested me to go 
back and bring them up. This I positively refused, 
stating that I was wounded in the thigh, and were I to 
proceed to the rear I could never regain my place with 
an army advancing ; I added that as he was mounted he 
would be safe in making the attempt. Calvert smiled and 
rode ofi", but not to the rear. Again I was left compara- 
tively alone. 

By this time the near approach of the Guards claimed 
a large portion of the enemy's fire, which previously had 
been directed to the place where the remains of the flank 
battalion still continued to fire from behind defences. I 
now contrived to get eight or ten of the men together, 
principally 9th Grenadiers and 28th Light Infantry; to 


this little force I proposed charging a howitzer, which 
was pouring forth destruction immediately in our front. 
The proposition being well received, I seized a firelock 
(there were many spare ones), and on this a drummer 
named Adams, of the 28th Grenadiers' Company, said 
that were he not afraid of being obliged to pay for his 
drum, he also would take a musket. Upon my telling 
the boy that I would pay for his drum, he flung it away 
and armed. I have always thought Adams the bravest 
man, or rather boy, whom I ever met — not for seizing a 
musket and gallantly charging, for in excitement that 
was natural enough ; but that he should stand calmly 
calculating the price of a drum when hundreds of balls 
were passing close to his body is scarcely credible ; but 
so it was. 

We now darted forward and were so fortunate as to 
capture the gun at the very moment when it was being 
reloaded. Two artillerymen were bayoneted ; the others 
rode off on their mules. This was not a gun fallen into 
our hands — it was taken at the point of the bayonet ; and 
however I may be criticised for saying it, I was the 
first person who placed a hand on the howitzer ; and 
afterwards with some chalky earth I marked it "28th 

Scarcely had the gun been taken when we were joined, 
as if through magic effect, by upwards of a hundred men 
of the flank battalion — a proof that they were not far 
distant. They darted forth from behind trees, briars, 
brakes and out of hollows ; I could imagine myself 
standing on " Benledi's Side." We now confidently 
advanced up the hill, and unlike most advances against 
a heavy fire, our numbers increased as we proceeded, 
soldiers of the flank battalion joining at every step. On 


capturing the gun, I tlirew down the firelock and bayonet 
which I carried ; but Adams retained his and putting 
on a pouch did good service during the remainder of 
the day. 

Soon after the movement of General Dikes in rear of 
the flank battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Barnard, also com- 
manding a flank battalion, and Lieutenant- Colonel Bath, 
leading the two flank companies of the 20th Portuguese 
Regiment, pushed forward to the left, and were immediately 
in fight with the enemy's tirailleurs. Colonel Wheatley, 
who commanded those troops together with the 28th, 67th 
and 87th Regiments, disentangling himself from the pine 
forest and at the same time prolonging his left flank, soon 
found himself opposed to the division of General Laval, 
who, debouching from the Chiclana wood, advanced so 
far as to form an obtuse angle with Rufin's division, already 
in line and engaged on the hill. Laval bore heavily forward 
in dense column, sending forth a continued peal of musketry, 
reckless of the destructive fire of our artillery, which took 
him in front and flank. Previous to these movements 
of Dikes and of Wheatley, Major Duncan was sent forward 
with his brigade of artillery consisting of ten guns. He 
came up rather close in rear of Browne's flank battalion soon 
after we were engaged, and next to our own battalion the 
artillery were the first British troops in action. The guns 
were soon embattled in rear of our left flank ; their 
murderous fire was quick, and heavily pitched into Laval's 
advancing columns. Yet Laval still pressed forward, until 
Wheatley's brigade advancing, firing and deploying, came 
in contact with them ; then the 87th Regiment, commanded 
by Major Gough, making a desperate charge, completely 
overthrew the 8th French Regiment, capturing their Eagle. 
In the meantime Laval, moving forward his right wing, 



whom lie strengthened with a battalion of grenadiers, 
attempted to turn Wheatley's left flank ; but Colonel Belson, 
with the 28th Regiment, who formed the left of Wheatley's 
brigade, coming up, forming and firing by companies, kept 
back his left wing in a diagonal direction, and by making 
a vigorous charge of the whole regiment served Laval in 
the manner in which the French general would have served 
him ; he completely turned his flank. 

At this period the strife was fierce, but, the British cheer 
passing through the entire brigade, the whole line now 
pushed forward. A general charge took place, and Laval's 
division were upset. Wheatley's brigade, now bringing 
forward their left, and whilst in full pursuit, fell in with 
the enemy's corps of reserve, who were instantly put to 
flight at the point of the bayonet. In the meantime the 
Guards, led on by General Dikes, pushed gallantly forward 
with lengthened step and lofty bearing ; and I make bold 
to say that never did the household troops witness a day 
more honourable to their corps, nor one upon which they 
more brilliantly maintained the glory of their prince. 
Surmounting all difficulties presented by the roughness 
and inequalities of the ground, heedless of the enemy's 
menacing attitude, reckless of the murderous fire which 
swept their still unformed ranks, they bore steadily onward 
and having crossed a deep broad and rugged ravine, wherein 
many a gallant soldier fell to rise no more, they climbed 
the opposite bank. Here they were encountered by Rufin's 
left wing and Rousseau's grenadiers, which latter gallantly 
descended from their position to give that reception which 
to such a warlike visit in martial country was due. But 
the Guards having gained firm footing on the base of the 
hill, and no obstacle opposed save men in arms, British 
blood and British prowess soon prevailed. The chosen 


grenadiers recoiled from the shock, liufin, or rather Victor 
who was present, tried to retrieve the disaster by bringing 
forward his right ; but these were furiously attacked 
and driven backwards by the remnant of Browne's flank 
battalion, now amounting to nearly two hundred men and 
one wounded officer. Both the enemy's flanks were thus 
turned round in rear of his centre. 

And now the battle for a moment hovered in the zenith 
of its glory ; the contending foes were not above ten yards 
asunder, and scarcely were the enemy seen to move. 
Tenaciously maintaining their hold of the hill, they fought 
with desperation, defending every inch of ground ; for the 
precipice was near. Their hardiest veterans stood firm ; 
their bravest officers came forth displaying the banners of 
their nation ; the heroic example of Marshal Victor was 
imitated by all. Conspicuous in the front the marshal 
was recognised by both armies waving his plume in 
circling motion high above his head, to fasten his troops 
to the hill ; but his gallant deeds and surprising valour 
were vain against his more than equal foe. General 
Graham at this critical moment darted to the front, and 
by one short word, loud and inspiring, made nought of 
all the marshal's bravery and combinations. The word 
was, " Charge ! " Like electric fluid it shot from the 
centre of the British line to the extremities of its flanks, 
instantaneously followed by the well-known thundering 
British cheer, sure precursor of the rush of British 
bayonets. The Guards and flankers now rushed forward, 
when with loud and murmuring sounds Rufin's whole 
division, together with Rousseau's chosen grenadiers, were 
instantly in whirling motion rolled down into the valley 
below, leaving their two brave generals mortally wounded 
on the hill, which was now in possession of their blood- 


stained conquerors. The battle was won ; and tlie gallant 
Graham triumphantly stood on the bristling crest of 
Barossa's blood-drenched hill. 

Now, since both flanks of the enemy had been turned, 
they came back to back on the plain ; and this steadied 
them, so that they continued to fire. I therefore requested 
Colonel McDonald, our Adjutant-General, to allow me, 
with the survivors of the 28th Regiment's flank companies, 
to go out and skirmish with the enemy, whilst our line 
should be got ready to advance. To this, with the 
concurrence of Colonel Browne who had just rejoined 
the battalion, he consented. We then moved forward. 
I saw no other troops go out. Colonel Browne was now 
the only officer with the remaining part of the flank 
battalion. After skirmishing for a short time, we were 
recalled. On our return. Colonel McDonald remarked that 
Major Northcote, having come up with the Rifles, would 
cover the line ; that he therefore recalled us, especially as 
Colonel Browne wished to have me with the battalion, at 
the same time saying in the most flattering manner that 
he should never forget my services throughout the day, 
and would always be ready to testify to them when 
called upon. 

The enemy's divisions, now united, were soon formed, 
and seemed determined to seize the boar by the tusks ; 
but the boar was now metamorphosed into a lion. On 
Major Duncan arriving with his guns and sending some 
beautifully directed shots with mathematical precision to 
dress their line. Marshal Victor retired his troops beyond 
the noxious range. The hill being gained, and the enemy 
inclined, although ashamed, to retreat. General Graham 
sent his aide-de-camp Captain Hope to General Beguines, 
requesting him to bring up the two Spanish regiments 


originally attached to the British division ; even this 
turned out unpropitious. When Duncan's fire prevailed 
on the enemy's column to retire, Colonel Ponsonby, of 
the Quarter-Master-General's Department, by permission 
of General Graham sought out the allied cavalry and 
brought away the German hussars. Having wound round 
the western point of the disputed hill, they were seen 
sweeping along the plain in beauty of battle ; and it is 
my firm belief that had they not appeared at that 
moment we should have been immediately in motion to 
the front. We gave the Germans a cheer as they passed 
in front of our line, now formed. The enemy's cavalry 
turned round and faced them stoutly, their commander 
placing himself some distance in their front. As the 
Germans closed on the enemy our cheers were enthusiastic. 
The brave French leader was instantly cut down ; our 
cavalry charged right through their opponents, then 
wheeling round charged them from rear to front, one 
red coat always conspicuous. Colonel Ponsonby. The 
French dragoons thus broken, Rousseau's grenadiers came 
to their support, and forming square covered the horsemen 
in their retreat. Again the British troops were on the 
point of advancing, when a staff officer came galloping up 
to say that a fresh column of the enemy were coming on 
the right flank of the Guards. This information alarmed 
us. Looking through my glass and observing them for 
an instant, I assured Colonel McDonald that they were 
Spaniards and that I knew the regiments. However some 
hesitation followed ; thus the Spaniards who betrayed us 
in the morning deceived us in the afternoon. It was 
General Beguines who, glad to get away from La Pena, 
was hastily advancing with the two regiments before 


A second column were seen advancing from the opposite 
direction — Chiclana. This was supposed to be Yillatte's 
division, who had not been engaged during the action, 
having remained near the Almanza creek, in front of 
General Zayas. But they turned out to be the sick, 
marched out from the hospitals of Chiclana, who thus 
succeeded as a ruse in covering the retreat of the vanquished 

Although at this critical juncture every British soldier 
felt confident that a strong body of six hundred Spanish 
cavalry, fired by the example of the gallant Germans, would 
ride forward against the reeling columns of the retiring 
enemy, yet they never appeared. Abandoning their calling 
as soldiers they remained behind, mouthing the pebbles 
of the beach and thus preparing with oratorical efiect to 
extol as their own those heroic deeds in which they bore no 
part and from which they studiously kept aloof. 

Notwithstanding the arrival of Beguines, General Graham 
evidently saw the difficulty and danger of making an 
advanced movement. The enemy, though beaten and having 
sufi'ered severe loss, still retired with a stronger force in 
the field than the British numbered before the battle com- 
menced. Villatte's division were fresh, and could easily have 
joined Victor. Our army was crippled, half its numbers 
being put hor^s de combat', and the survivors had been 
for twenty-four hours under arms, sixteen of which had been 
passed in marching, and chiefly during the previous night. 
After having gained so brilliant a victory, and defeated the 
enemy at all points, the British general fully expected that 
La Pena, awaking from his torpor, would take advantage 
of Victor's overthrow and lay the drowsy Spaniards on the 
track of his discomfited and retiring columns ; but he was 
mistaken — such was never La Pefia's intention. At the 


time when Colonel Browne took up his position on the 
hill, the principal part of the Spanish artillery were moved 
along the beach road and halted about midway between 
the two points whence the enemy could move on to attack, 
the one by the western point of Barossa, the other by the 
eastern side of Bermeja. On this position they halted, 
but with their drivers mounted, ready to start at a moment's 
notice for that point, whence the enemy advanced 7iot. 
Thus, when Victor was perceived advancing against Colonel 
Browne, the great guns flew along the beach road, nor 
stopped until Bermeja was left far in their rear. Later, 
when the British troops were exposed to the hottest fire, 
perilously situated, their rear left open to attack by the 
early flight of the Spaniards ifrom the hill, yet La Pefia 
gave no aid, although, had he moved forward by the eastern 
side of Bermeja and come on the! 'plain in that direction 
towards Chiclana, he would have got in rear of Marshal 
Victor, when the whole French army must have been 
destroyed or taken. But neither [the roaring of cannon, 
his duty towards his allies, the pride of his profession, nor 
the independence of his country was sufficient stimulant 
to rouse him forward into action : La Peiia was determined 
not to move. Yet when subsequently cashiered for his 
disgraceful conduct, he had the unparalleled impudence 
to declare that it was a great hardship to be dismissed the 
Service after he had gained so brilliant a victory with 
the allied army. And soon after the battle General Cruz- 
Murgeon unblushingly asserted in the public prints at 
Cadiz that he took both prisoners and guns during the 
action. Colonel Ponsonby, who undertook to refute this 
unfounded statement, asked me (all the other guns captured 
being accounted for) whether any Spaniards even seemingly 
assisted or were in sight when the gun, which he said he 


saw me in the act of charging, was captured. I replied 
that there was not a Spaniard in the field at the time, and 
that with the exception of himself and Colonel McDonald, 
the Adjutant-General, who rode past at the time, no 
individual of any corps was in sight of the flank battalion 
when the gun was taken, not even the Guards, who, though 
immediately on our right, were shut out by the interveniug 
inequalities of the ground. But with respect to his taking 
four guns. General Cruz-Murgeon was partly right, the 
term " taking " only being erroneous. After the action 
was over, the Spanish general found his own guns on the 
same spot where he had abandoned them in the morning, 
silent and cold, though they should have been loudly 
pouring forth their hottest fire against Eousseau's division 
when they were advancing against Colonel Browne's position. 
This I said that I was ready to prove, having seen the guns 
after the Spaniards had fled. This statement being made 
public, the controversy ceased, and Cruz-Murgeon shrank 
from the paper warfare as disreputably as he had fled from 
the field. 

Until late in the evening the British general maintained 
his position on the hill, when, seeing no prospect of a 
forward movement on the part of the Spaniards, he, as 
soon as it was dark, to prevent his movement being 
discovered by the enemy, retired down to Santi Petri 
point, and passed over the bridge of boats into the Isla 
de Leon. 



rr^HUS terminated the celebrated battle of Barossa, by 
-*- Spaniards termed the bloody fight of the wild boar, 
fought under extraordinary difficulties against a gallant 
foe more than double in number, by harassed British 
troops, whose gallantry called forth the admiration of 
all Europe and the malignant jealousy of their allies — 
a battle which immortalised the genius and valour of the 
commanding general, who coolly directed our movements 
until all was prepared .for the bayonet, when, laying aside 
the personal prudence of the experienced old commander, 
he displayed the vigour and impetuosity of the young 
soldier, leading us on to the final glorious charge. It 
was during this charge, and when the Guards and flank 
battalion united on the top of the hill, that Colonel Browne 
and I again met, he on the left of the household troops 
and I on the right of the flank battalion, with whom, from 
the departure of the colonel until his return, I was the 
only officer and consequently in command. The time 
of my command, as well as I can recollect, was about 
an hour, and that during the hottest part of the action. 
After mutual congratulations, my gallant colonel shook 
me cordially by the hand, declaring that he never could 
forget my services on that day, and adding that, should 
we both survive the action, he would in person present 
me to General Graham and bear full testimony to my 


conduct thronghout the whole day. The colonel was 
fully aware that, had the author of these Memoirs lagged 
behind in consequence of a wound received early in the 
action, he, on his arrival on the hill, instead of finding 
nearly two hundred bayonets of the flank battalion well 
into the charge which reeled the enemy off the hill, would 
not have had a single man of that battalion present to 
command, and must consequently have been still a 
volunteer with the Guards. I reported to him my having 
charged and taken the howitzer. Here I feel called upon 
to state that when Colonel Browne parted to join the 
Guards there were not ten men of the flank battalion to 
be seen and not above four or Rve standing near us ; there 
was nothing for him to command, and I feel thoroughly 
satisfied that it was by sheer bravery he was moved. 
Although the battalion when they originally moved forward 
had not the slightest prospect of success, still it was 
absolutely necessary for the safety of the British army 
and the Spanish cause to push us forward ; and had 
we not undauntedly pressed on to attack Rufin in his 
position, that general would have come down in perfect 
order on the British troops, then in a confused mass and 
so entangled in the pine forest as to render any attempt 
at formation totally impracticable. To await an attack 
under such circumstances must have been attended with 
the most fatal results. 

The extremely critical situation in which the British 
troops were placed cannot be more forcibly expressed than 
by General Graham's own words in his orders of the 
following day : 

"IsLA DE Leon, March 6thy 1811. 

** The enemy's numbers and position were no longer 
objects of calculation, /or there teas no retreat left'' 


Under these circumstances to hesitate in pushing forward 
the flank battalion, not only as select troops, but also as 
the only British troops regularly formed, since they had 
not yet been entangled in the pine forest, would have 
shown culpable weakness and want of resolution, although 
the movement was consigning us as a body to certain 
destruction. At the commencement of the action our 
battalion formed a little more than a tenth of the army ; 
yet at the close of the action our casualties both in officers 
and men amounted to nearly a fourth of the entire loss 
sustained, although every regiment was well into the fight. 

The officers killed and wounded in the flank companies 
of the 9th and 28th Regiments alone exceeded a fifth of 
the total loss of officers; they were sixty-two, and of 
the flank companies there were thirteen, six of the 9th 
and seven of the 28th. But the carnage which the flank 
battalion sufi'ered was never brought before the public. The 
casualties which took place in the different flank companies 
were in the official despatches put under the heads of their 
different regiments ; thus the officers killed and wounded of 
the 9th Regiment flankers were returned as a loss sustained 
by the 9th Regiment, although at the time the 9th 
Regiment were doing garrison duty in Gibraltar ; and the 
28th Regiment, who formed the extreme left of the line, 
returned eight officers killed or wounded, whereas seven 
of those were of its flank companies with Colonel Browne's 
battalion, who were led into action on the extreme right, 
though the Guards having moved by our rear and sub- 
sequently forming on our right, we at the close of the 
battle stood between the two brigades. 

The battle, although it lasted little more than two hours, 
was extremely fierce and bloody, and its results marked 
the gallantry of the two nations by whom it was fought. 


Two thousand French, with three general officers, were 
either killed or wounded; and they lost six guns and an 
Eagle. The loss on our side consisted of ^ve lieutenant- 
colonels, one major, sixteen captains, twenty-six lieutenants, 
thirteen ensigns, one staff, fifty-one sergeants, eleven 
hundred and eighty rank and file, making a total of twelve 
hundred and ninety-three put ho}'s de combat But of all the 
army the severest loss sustained was by the grenadiers and 
light bobs of the 28th Regiment ; and it may truly be said 
that the young soldiers who filled 'up the vacancies left 
in those companies by the veterans who fell in the 
mountains of Galicia or at Corunna or who sunk through 
the swamps in Walcheren, were this day introduced to 
a glorious scene of action. Two-thirds of the men and 
all the officers lay on the battlefield : one alone of the latter 
was enabled to resume his legs, for he had no bone broken ; 
he continued through the fight, — 'twas the system of the 
old Slashers. 

The flank officers of the 28th Regiment who fell in the 
battle were Captain Mullins, Lieutenant Wilkinson and 
Lieutenant Light (Grenadiers) ; and Captain Bradley and 
Lieutenants Bennet, Blakeney and Moore. Poor Bennet 
was shot through the head whilst gallantly cheering on the 
men through an incessant shower of grape and musketry. 
On seeing him fall I darted to the spot and too plainly 
discovered the cause. It grieved me that I could not stop 
for an instant with my dearest friend and first companion 
of my youth ; but friendship, however fervid, must yield 
to imperative duty. The men were fast falling and it 
required the utmost exertion to keep the survivors together, 
exposed, as they then were, to a murderous fire of round- 
shot, grape and musketry. My exertions at the moment 
were rather limping, as I had just been struck by a grape- 


shot under the hip, which for a moment laid me prostrate. 
I could only cast a mournful look at Bennet, poor fellow. 
It may be that our firm friendship conduced to his fate. 
A vacancy occurred in the light company a few days before 
the action, and I saw that Bennet would willingly fill it up ; 
but it was an established rule, at least in the regiment, that 
a senior lieutenant could never be put over the head of a 
junior already serving in the light company. Perceiving that 
his delicacy prevented his asking, I prevailed upon Colonel 
Belson to appoint him, although my senior. With the 
battalion two officers only were wounded. Captain Cadell 
and Lieutenant Anderson. In the flank companies no 
officer escaped, and poor Bennet fell, to rise no more. But 
after all man must have a final place of rest, and the 
appropriate bed of a soldier is the battlefield ; and it will 
be some consolation to his friends to know that never did 
a soldier fall more gallantly or on a day more glorious, and 
never was an officer more highly esteemed when living, nor, 
when he fell, more sincerely regretted by the whole of his 
brother officers. He was wounded about noon on the 6th ; 
the brain continually oozed through the wound ; yet 
strange to say he continued breathing until the morning 
of the 7th, when he calmly expired with a gentle sigh. 
A marble slab was subsequently erected in the chapel of 
the Government House at Gibraltar, to the memory of 
Bennet and of Lieutenant Light of the Grenadiers, by their 
affectionate brother officers who unfeignedly regretted the 
early fall of the two gallant youths. 

A few days after the battle the 28th Regiment returned 
to Gibraltar and the flank battalion to Tarifa, where we 
joyfully reoccupied our old quarters in the houses of the 
truly hospitable inhabitants. I was billeted in the house 
of an old priest, Don Favian Durque. His sister, an old 


maiden lady, lived with him, and it is impossible to 
express the kindness and attention which I received from 
both. When the old lady heard that the grape-shot which 
struck me had first passed through an orange, a ration 
loaf and a roast fowl, with tears in her eyes she knelt 
down and with religious fervency devoutly offered up 
her thanks to the Blessed Virgin, who, she said, must 
have fed the fowl which so miraculously saved my 

A week had not elapsed after our return to Tarifa when 
Colonel Browne received a letter from General Graham 
requesting that he would recommend any officer of the 
flank battalion who had distinguished himself in the late 
action. This was in consequence of some circumstances 
having come to the general's knowledge, principally 
through his Adjutant-General, Colonel McDonald, and his 
Quartermaster-General, Colonel Ponsonby, as well as 
through his aide-de-camp. Captain Calvert. Colonel 
Browne then recommended me to the general. 

Having had occasion to go to Cadiz on private affairs, 
1 carried the colonel's letter, upon presenting which the 
general delayed not a moment in sending a report on 
the subject to the commander-in-chief, with a strong 
recommendation ; and during my stay in the Isla I had 
the honour of dining every day at the general's table. 
In Colonel Browne's letter, which he read to me, the 
capture of the howitzer is stated, but is not mentioned 
in General Graham's report. In fact he could not well 
have mentioned it, having already reported the capture of 
all the guns in his official despatch. I cannot help think- 
ing that had Colonel Browne not forgotten his promise 
to me, solemnly and spontaneously pledged on our meeting 
on Barossa Hill, and had he mentioned my name to General 


Graham before that gallant officer sent off his despatches, 
my promotion to a company would not have been the 
result of a subsequent action. 

We remained at Tarifa a few months longer, continually 
fighting for our bread (the crops), when many a lively 
and serious skirmish took place. It is a pleasant little 
town, and famous as the point where the Moors made their 
first descent into Spain, invited by Count Julian to avenge 
the insult offered to his daughter, the beautiful Florinda, 
by Roderick the last of the Visigoth monarchs. When 
the Moors had been expelled from Spain, a watch-tower 
was erected here, in which towards evening a bell rings^ 
every hour until dark ; it then sounds every half hour 
until midnight, — from that hour until three o'clock in the 
morning it rings every quarter, and after that every Rye 
minutes until daybreak. This custom continued down to 
the period when we were quartered there and probably 
does so to the present time ; and this bell to our great 
annoyance hung close to the officers' guardroom. 

Nothing offends a Spaniard, particularly in Andalusia ^ 
more than to insinuate even that he is in any way connected 
with the Moors. Should you through doubt ask a Spaniard 
to what country he belongs, he answers that he is a pure 
and legitimate Castilian, not intending to say that he is a 
native of either of the Castiles or that he was born in 
wedlock, but giving you to understand that his veins are 
not contaminated with any mixture of Moorish blood. 
Yet in Tarifa, where they are most particular on this- 
point, they still continue a Moorish custom peculiar to that 
town and not practised, I believe, in any other part of 
Spain. The ladies wear a narrow shawl or strip of silk,, 
called a mantilla, generally black ; the centre of this^ 
strip is placed on the crown of the head, the ends 


hanging down in front of the shoulders, the deep fringe, 
with which they are trimmed, reaching close to the ankle. 
So far this dress is common throughout Spain ; but in 
Tarifa the ladies cross the mantilla in front of their faces, 
by which the whole countenance is concealed, with the 
•exception of one eye ; this is done by dexterously lapping 
the mantilla across at the waist, and so gracefully that 
the movement is scarcely perceptible. I have seen many 
English and even Spanish ladies of the other provinces 
endeavour to imitate this sudden and graceful movement, 
but never without awkwardness ; whereas every female in 
Tarifa accomplishes it in a moment. This temporary 
disguise is resorted to when the ladies go out to walk ; 
and so perfect is the concealment and the dress of the 
ladies so much alike, that the most intimate acquaintances 
pass each other unknown. Thus accidents may happen 
iind husbands fail to know their own wives. 

Spanish ladies in general are very fine figures, for 
which reason, as I have been told, their under garments, 
far from flowing, are very narrow, and tied down the front 
with many knots of fine silk ribbon. 

The order for the flank companies to join headquarters 
having arrived, after a long and happy sojourn we bade a 
final adieu to this pleasant and hospitable little town, and 
proceeded to Gibraltar. 

After remaining a few days in Gibraltar to exchange our 
tattered Barossa clothing for a new outfit, which the flank 
companies had no opportunity of doing previously, the 
regiment sailed for Lisbon on July 10th, on board two men- 
of-war ; but a calm setting in, we were carried by the 
current to Ceuta on the African coast. Dropping anchor, 
the officers landed to dine with our old friends, the 2nd 
Battalion 4th or King's Own, who were quartered there ; 


but tlie weather promising fair, Blue Peter and a gun 
summoned us on board before the cloth was removed. 

Next morning we found ourselves off Tarifa. The whole 
population were on the beach kissing hands and waving 
kerchiefs in the breeze ; we recognised them all ; and a 
recollection of the many happy days we passed there, where 
so oft we played and sang and danced the gay fandango, 
called forth from all a tear or sigh. The Tarifa ladies were 
famed throughout Spain for their beauty. But the charmed 
city soon receded from our view ; and on we plodded 
listlessly, until we came abreast of Barossa Hill, when we 
all hurried on deck and drank a flowing bumper with three 
times three cheers to the health of the gallant Graham. 
Continuing our course towards the land, where dwell the 
brown maids with the lamp-black eyes, we arrived at 
Lisbon on the 20th and next day disembarked. 

Our field equipments were immediately put in prepara- 
tion ; our baggage animals were procured as soon as the 
market supplied, and as cheap as the Portuguese sharpers 
would sell, who next to Yorkshiremen are the greatest 
rogues known in regard to horses. Our wooden canteens 
were well soaked, securely to keep in what the commissaries 
cautiously served out. A portable larder or haversack was 
given to each to carry his provisions in, and a clasp knife 
which was both fork and spoon. Our little stock of tea, 
sugar and brandy was carefully hoarded in a small canteen, 
wherein dwelt a little tin kettle, which also acted the part 
of teapot ; two cups and saucers (in case of company), two 
spoons, two forks, two plates of the same metal, a small 
soup-tureen, which on fortunate occasions acted as punch- 
bowl but never for soup. This was termed a rough-and- 
ready canteen for officers of the line only. Hussars, 
lancers and other cavalry captains would doubtless sooner 



starve than contaminate tlieir aristocratic stomachs with 
viands, however exquisite, served on such plebeian utensils ; 
however a frjdng-pan was common to all ranks. 

Our equipment being completed, the march was announced 
for August 1st. Many conflicting sentiments jarred in our 
breasts the night before. Thoughts of the bloody battles 
we had gained and the prospect of a glorious campaign 
before us were gloomed by the recollection that not long 
before we had taken the same route with Sir John Moore 
at our head ; that since that period the ranks of the 
regiment had been thinned or swept away at Corunna, 
Oporto, Talavera, Albuera, Barossa. Many a gallant soldier 
and sincere friend had been laid low since last we met at 
Lisbon. With these recollections we sat down to table, and 
eating seemed but a work of necessity, which passed in 
mute action. The cloth being removed, a bumper was 
proposed to the memory of the immortal Moore. It was 
drunk in perfect silence and, as it were, with religious 
solemnity. The martial figure and noble mien of the 
calumniated hero stood erect in the imagination, and was 
perfect in the memory of all ; but a painful recollection of 
the mournful state in which we last beheld him saddened 
every countenance. We seemed to see him borne in a 
blanket by the rear of the regiment, the moon acting as 
one big torch to light the awfal procession as it moved 
slowly along, our men falling around him as if anxious, 
even in death, to follow their gallant leader, and the enemy's 
guns firing salvos as if to cheer the warrior's last moments. 
He knew that they were beaten. Thus Sir John Moore 
bade his final adieu to the regiment, all shattered save his 
martial spirit and lofty mind, — these were unbroken and 
remained inflexible. He yielded his last breath with a sigh 
of love for his countiy and of yearning for his profession. 


After this toast was drunk tlie band with muffled drums 
played, " Peace to the Fallen Brave " ; but either the 
instruments were out of tune or our souls not tuned to 
harmony. The music sounded mournful and low ; a dark 
gloom like a Pyrenean cloud hung cold, damp and clammy 
around ; we tried to shake it off but in vain. 

Our next bumper was to the memory of our late gallant 
comrades, who gloriously fell since our last march from 
Lisbon, gallantly maintaining the honour of their country 
and corps. This toast was also drunk in solemn silence, 
while many an eye swam at the recollection of scenes and 
friends gone for ever. I thought of my poor friend, Bennet. 
This toast led to the mention of several anecdotes, wherein 
the deceased bore the principal part. The gallant feats 
of our departed friends insensibly revived sentiments of a 
less mournful nature ; the foggy vapour somewhat cleared 

Our third and last bumper was " To our next happy 
meeting ; and whosoever's lot it be to fall may the regiment 
soon and often be placed in a situation to maintain the 
glory of their country, and may they never forget the 
bravery and discipline which won the * back-plates.' " This 
sentiment was received with wild enthusiasm, and so loudly 
cheered by all that gloom and melancholy were frightened 
out of the room. The festive board gradually resumed 
its wonted cheerful tone ; the merry song went round 
drowning the doleful funeral dirge ; past misfortunes and 
useless regrets were forgotten. We sat late and drank deep, 
and thoughts of the fair and of future glory alone occupied 
our minds. Heedless of the obstacles opposed to reward 
of personal merit by an all-grasping aristocratical inter- 
ference, our heated imaginations presented nothing but 
blood, wounds and scars, ribbons and stars to our dancing 


vision now becoming double and doubtfal ; and at last 
we retired — but to prepare for advance. Such was the 
custom of gallant gay soldiers the night previous to opening 
a campaign ; in their breasts the reign of ennui is but short, 
and they spurn presentiments and foreboding, harboured 
only by the feeble nerve, the disordered brain, the shattered 
constitution, or by those whose vices conjure up frightful 
phantoms to their troubled conscience. 



"VTEXT morning at dawn we commenced our second 
"^ campaign in Portugal. Crossing the Tagus, we 
continued our route through the Alemtejo, and arrived at 
Villaviciosa on the 10th. Here we joined our 2nd Battalion, 
commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Abercrombie. It was 
the first meeting of the battalions since our separation 
at the Curragh of Kildare in 1805, and was very interesting. 
The old veterans of the 1 st Battalion with measured phrase 
recounted their feats in Denmark, Sweden, Holland, 
Portugal and Spain, cunningly leaving many a space to 
be filled up by the warm imagination of their excited young 
auditors. On the other hand the gallant striplings of the 
2nd Battalion, with that fervent and frank ingenuousness 
so inseparable from youth and so rare in advanced man- 
hood, came at once to the bloody fight. They long and 
often dwelt upon the glorious battle of Albuera ; they told 
of the Spaniards coming late ; that Blake would neither 
lead nor follow ; of brigades being cut up through the 
over-anxiety of their commanders ; of colours being taken ; 
in fine, of the battle being all but lost, until their brigade, 
commanded by their gallant Colonel Abercrombie, in 
conjunction with the brave Fusiliers, came up and by a 
combined and overwhelming charge bore down all oppo- 
sition and tore away the palm of victory already twining 
round the enemy's standard. 



The two battalions had been so severely cut up, particu- 
larly at Barossa and Albuera, that one battalion alone 
remained efficient for service. All the men of the 2nd 
were transferred to the 1st. Their officers and sergeants 
returned to England ; but since Colonel Belson was obliged 
to go home for the benefit of his health, Colonel Aber- 
crombie was retained. And now, and contrary to my 
wishes, the colonel appointed me to the command of a 
battalion company ; but he pledged himself that whenever 
the regiment should be about to come in contact with the 
enemy, I should have it at my option to join the light 

We shortly afterwards removed to Portalegre, General 
Hill's headquarters. Here we remained some time 
enjoying all the luxury of campaigning, inviting even to 
the most refined cockney, keenest sportsman, or most 
insatiable gourmand. Kaces were established, partridge- 
shooting was good, and General Hill kept a pack of 
foxhounds, and entertained liberally. He felt equally at 
home before a smoking round of beef or a red-hot marshal 
of France, and was as keen at unkennelling a Spanish fox 
as at starting a French general out of his sleep, and in 
either amusement was the foremost to cry, '^ Tally ho ! " 
or, " There they go ! " As his aide-de-camp, Captain Curry, 
was married, the amiable Mrs. Curry always dined at the 
general's table, so that we neither forgot the deference 
due to beauty nor the polished manners of the drawing- 

But a union of so many sources of happiness is transient 
in the life of a soldier. Towards the middle of October a 
division of the French 5th Corps, commanded by General 
Gerard, moved through Estremadura to collect forage and 
provisions for the army at Portugal, crossing the Guadiana 


at Merida, and approaching tlie Portuguese frontier near 
Caceres and Aliseda. In consequence the British troops 
marched out of Portalegre on the 22nd, and the head of 
our column reached Albuquerque in Spain on the evening 
of the 23rd. General Hill was here informed that the 
enemy had retired from Aliseda to Arroyo de Puerco, and 
that Aliseda was again in possession of the Spaniards. 
However, to secure that country, Aliseda was entered 
on the night of the 24th by a British brigade, some 
Portuguese artillery, and a portion of cavalry ; whilst at 
Casa de Santillana, about four miles distant, a similar 
force was stationed. The enemy's advanced guard were 
driven out of Arroyo de Puerco on the morning of the 25th 
by the Spanish cavalry, commanded by Count Penne 
Yillamur ; the fugitives moved upon Malpartida, their 
main body being still at Caceres. The British and 
Portuguese troops following the route of Villamur's 
cavalry, after a forced march which continued throughout 
the night of the 25th, arrived on the morning of the 26th 
at Malpartida; and here we learned that the enemy had 
during the night moved upon Caceres. During this 
morning General Hill was informed that Gerard, with 
the main body of his troops, had moved from Caceres, 
but in what direction none could tell. In this uncertainty^ 
together with the inclemency of the weather and the 
fatigue caused by our previous night's forced march, 
the general judged it expedient to halt for the day. 
The Spaniards however moved on to Caceres. Towards 
night the general having received positive information 
that the French had directed their course upon Torremocha, 
we were put in motion at three o'clock on the morning of 
the 27th ; but during our march we were informed that 
the foe had evacuated Torremocha that very morning, 


with tlie avowed intention of occupying the town of Arroyo 
Molinos for that night. All our information seemed to 
be at variance ; yet all was perfectly correct. General 
Hill now bent his line of movement, and by a forced march 
arrived late that evening at Alcuescar, unperceived by the 
enemy. Both armies marched nearly in parallel lines 
during the greater part of the day, and not very far 
asunder ; but intervening mountains and a thickly wooded 
country prevented each from seeing the other. 

We now felt certain that the enemy, whom we had so 
ardently and arduously sought, were at length within our 
reach. Our advanced post was not above two miles from 
Arroyo Molinos, where Gerard rested in fancied security, 
flattering himself that he had deceived us by his move- 
ments, and that we were then at Caceres, toward which 
we had bent our course in the morning. 

On arriving at Alcuescar we were all excessively fatigued 
from our forced marches ; but while we were pitching 
our tents and anticipating some repose, I received an 
order to proceed to San Antonio, between six and seven 
miles distant, to carry despatches to General Hamilton, 
who commanded a Portuguese brigade halted at that 
place. I strongly remonstrated, pointing out that during 
a halt of some hours by which the whole army gained some 
repose, I had been sent far into the country to collect in- 
formation from the peasantry ; that carrying this despatch 
did not fall to me as a regular tour of duty ; and above 
all, that I felt excessively unwilling to proceed to the 
rear at that late hour, knowing that the army were to 
move during the night and would more than probably be 
engaged before the dawn. However all my remonstrances 
were vain. Lieutenant Bailey, then on the quarter-master- 
general's staff (now commandant in the Island of Gozzo), 



told me that I was particularly selected by General Hill 
to carry the despatch ; that his orders were peremptory ; 
and that not a moment should be lost in communicating its 
important contents to General Hamilton. Bailey then read 
the despatch, which imported that, from the position which 
the British army occupied, the enemy could not possibly 
escape except through San Antonio. General Hamilton 
was therefore directed to place every car and cart in his 
possession, and everything which he could collect in the 
place, as an obstacle across the road, and in every way to 
impede the enemy's progress, should they attempt to pass 
him during the night, and thus to give time to the British 
troops to come up on the first alarm. The despatch was 
read to me with the view that, should I be pursued by 
any French cavalry patrols, I should tear it, and if I 
fortunately escaped, deliver its contents verbally, or if 
I were driven out of my road, communicate its import in 
Spanish to any peasant I might meet, who could perhaps 
creep his way to San Antonio, although I should not be 
able to get there. I had an order from General Hill to 
the Spanish General, Giron, to furnish me with a party of 
dragoons. The Spanish general offered me three men 
when like Phocion I remarked that for the purpose of war 
they were too few and for any other purpose too many. 
I therefore took only one man, strongly recommended as 
a guide, and set off in very threatening weather for San 

Arriving there without any adventure and safely deliver- 
ing my despatches, I immediately wheeled round to regain 
the camp, when, in addition to the lateness of the hour 
and the difficulty of finding my way through a dense 
forest, the darkened clouds suddenly burst and torrents of 
rain poured down, accompanied by a tempest of wind so 


furions as nearly to blow me off my horse. All traces 
of onr route having disappeared, I called to the dragoon 
to go in front and point out the way, upon which he 
very coolly but respectfully replied that it was for the first 
time in his life he was there. My rage and consterna- 
tion at this astounding declaration was such that I could 
have shot the fellow. I asked him how he could think of 
coming as a guide through a thick forest, and over ground 
with not one foot of which he was acquainted, beset too 
by the enemy's patrols ; and expressing my conviction that 
he must be a countryman of mine, I asked him if he were 
born in Ireland. The man replied that he was not selected 
as a guide ; that he and the other dragoons, whom I had 
declined taking, were simply warned as an escort, but the 
word guide was never mentioned. As to his place of 
birth, he, after appropriate adjustment in his saddle and 
assuming true quixotic mien, announced himself a 
" Castillano puro " ; but judge my mortification at his 
asking me, with simplicity apparently genuine, if Ireland 
was in Portugal ! I indignantly darted my spurs into the 
flanks of my unoffending high-spirited Andalusian steed, 
which, although never attached to the commissariat, I had 
selected from the breed of Bucephalus or bullock-headed, 
still common in Andalusia, and remarkable for the bones 
which protrude above the eyes and resemble stumps 
of horns. 

We still moved forward and after wandering some time 
in the dark perceived a fire. This was cautiously ap- 
proached. The dragoon, being in front, was challenged by 
a sentry, whom he declared to be French ; and instantly 
turning we both galloped off. We were wandering to and 
fro, scarce knowing where we were; but the Sierra 
Montanchez, rearing its head high above the trees and 


appearing black amidst the dark clouds, prevented us at 
least from turning our backs to the place we sought, and 
warned us not to approach too near lest we should come 
upon the French army. Again we discovered a fire, which 
we conjectured to be that of a piquet. It rained torrents ; 
the wind blew furiously tearing the trees from the roots. 
Troops of howling wolves stalked around ; and although 
they sometimes passed nearly between our horses' legs, 
we durst not fire even in our own defence, lest in so doing- 
we should awaken the attention of a more formidable foe. 

Soaked through with rain, not knowing where I was, 1 
struck my repeater, which I never failed to carry, and found 
that the army would be in motion in little more than an 
hour and a half. I became desperate ; I resolved at all 
hazard to ascertain our true position. With this deter- 
mination I alighted, leaving my cloak on the saddle, since 
it was too heavy to support from the quantity of rain it 
had imbibed ; my pistols I carried in my breast, to keep 
the locks dry. The Spaniard I prevailed upon to remain 
behind, between thirty and forty paces distant from the fire 
which burned in our front, with orders not to move unless 
he should hear a shot fired, when he should take it for 
certain that I was attacked ; then he was to ride forward 
at full speed, taking care not to leave my horse behind. 
All thus arranged, with doubtful step I approached the fire. 
My preceding the dragoon arose neither from personal 
bravado nor from want of full confidence in the Spaniard, 
who, I felt convinced, would do his duty gallantly : in fact, 
I had some difiiculty in prevailing upon him to remain 
behind ; and he anxiously pleaded to accompany me, 
although he still felt ofi'ended at being taken for a 
Portuguese-Irishman. My taking the lead was in conse- 
quence of the haughty Castilian having been too proud to 


learn any language but his own ; and I happened to have 
had a tolerably good acquaintance with the languages of 
the four nations whose troops were in the field, English, 
French, Spanish and Portuguese. Silently and cautiously 
I moved forward, until I arrived within a few yards of 
the fire ; then lying down flat on the ground, and forming 
a kind of funnel with both hands close to the ground and 
laying my ear thereto, I now plainly heard words which 
I joyfully discovered to be Portuguese. Getting on my 
legs I approached the fire with confidence. A Portuguese 
sentry, lowering his bayonet, demanded who I was ; this 
being soon explained, I holloaed out to Don Diego, the 
Spanish dragoon, who instantly galloped forward with his 
sabre drawn, but not forgetting my horse. Upon asking 
the Portuguese corporal, who commanded the piquet, where 
the English were encamped, I was much astonished at his 
replying, *' Here." I could discover no sign of an army 
or a camp, until moving forward about forty yards in the 
direction which the corporal indicated, I came upon the 
very spot upon which my own tent had been pitched. 
Here I found Lieutenant Huddleston, of the company, lying 
under the folds of the tent, which had been blown down. 
I asked the cause of the darkness which reigned around 
and which was the chief cause of my wandering for some 
hours close to the army without being able to discover 
it. He told me that immediately after my departure a 
general order was issued that not a light should be lit, 
except one in the commissariat tent, and that only while 
they served out an additional allowance of rum, granted 
in consequence of our long march and the dreadful state 
of the weather ; and that the furious tempest, which I must 
have encountered in the forest, blew down almost every 
tent, which added to the obscurity. 



I had still upwards of two miles to ride through incessant 
wind and rain to reach the village of Alcuescar, where the 
generals took up their quarters with the light companies 
of the division and some Spanish cavalry. Immediately on 
arriving there I reported to General Hill my having 
executed the duty with which I was entrusted. This report 
I made through Captain Clement Hill, the general's- 
brother and aide-de-camp. He told me that the general felt 
excessively well pleased at my having succeeded, wondered 
at my having returned so soon, or at all, in such dreadful 
weather, and directed that I should not depart until I had 
dined (rather a fashionable hour, past one in the morning), 
adding with his usual urbanity that he regretted not being 
able to see me, as he was engaged with two Spaniards, who 
were making communications of a very important nature. 

Having swallowed some cold roast beef and a tumbler 
of port, I retired to the next house, where fortunately 
the light company of the 28th Regiment were stationed. 
Here I procured food for my wearied horse ; but, although 
steeped with rain, I could make no change in my dress, 
my baggage being upwards of two miles in the rear, where 
the regiment were encamped. Change of stockings I could 
procure, but my boots teeming with water I durst not take 
off, knowing that I should not be able to draw them on 

Shortly afterwards the army from the camp came up and 
joined us. Company states being collected, the adjutant 
told me that the colonel remarked that No. 1 — the company 
to which I had been attached — was not signed by me. 
I had previously fallen in with the light company. I 
immediately signed the state and fell in with the battalion 
company. I perceived that the colonel rather avoided me. 

All being prepared, the light companies of the brigade 


were ordered to advance. I could restrain my feelings no 
longer, and went to the colonel, reminding him of the 
promise which he made when I was unwillingly appointed 
to the command of a battalion company in Portugal ; and 
repeated what I then said, that since October 14th, 1808 
(the day we marched from Lisbon under Sir John 
Moore), to the present time the light company, although 
they had been innumerable times in fight, had never fired 
a shot nor seen a shot fired when I was not present, 
and I trusted that I should not now be left behind. " Oh ! 
there it is, Mr. Blakeney — every one wishes to leave me. 
You are more respectable commanding a company with the 
regiment than 2nd in a company detached." Being rather 
hurt at the (for the first time) cool manner in which he 
addressed me, I merely bowed and said that with whatever 
company I was ordered to serve I hoped to be able to do 
my duty. The colonel rode away, but immediately returned 
and said : " Blakeney, I very well recollect my promise, 
but thought you would never mention it. I wished to have 
you near myself. However I now speak to you as your 
friend : do as you please ; either join the light company 
or remain, but do not hereafter say that I marred your 
prospects, which on the contrary I pledge you my honour 
I would most willingly advance." Encouraged by the 
colonel's friendly and sincere manner, as well as by the 
kind regards which he always showed towards me, I felt 
emboldened to express my sentiments freely ; and although 
I held Colonel Abercrombie in the highest estimation, as 
indeed did every officer in the regiment, I told him candidly 
that I wished to join the light company. Shaking me 
cordially by the hand, " God bless you, my honest fellow ! " 
said he, "and may every success attend you." Another 
officer was appointed to command the battalion company ; 


and monnting my horse I soon overtook the light bobs, 
who greeted me with a cheer, saying that they knew Mr. 
Blakeney would not remain behind. This anecdote, in 
itself of no consequence, I introduce, as it gives me an 
opportunity of doing justice to the noble feelings of the 
gallant generous Colonel Abercrombie, of whose disin- 
terested friendship I soon had a still stronger proof. 



A BOUT dawn, weather still dreadful and favoured bv a 
"^--^ dense fog, the troops were formed under rising ground 
within half a mile of the enemy, who, strange to be 
said, did not present even a single vedette. They occupied 
Arroyo Molinos, a small town situated under the 
northern extremity of Sierra Montanchez, a broad chain of 
mountains which receded from Arroyo in a semicircular 
form, its extreme points being upwards of two miles asunder. 
It is everywhere impassable, even by goats, except within 
about a quarter of a mile of its eastern point, where persons 
desperately situated might by climbing, scramble across. 
The road leading from Arroyo Molinos to Merida lies at 
right angles to that from Alcuescar, while the road to 
Medellin intersects the one leading from Merida to Trujillo. 
To prevent the escape of the enemy by any of these roads 
was the anxious care of the general. The rising ground, 
under which our troops united, prevented our near approach 
being discovered by the enemy and favoured the distribution 
of the army for the attack. 

Major-Gen eral Howard's brigade, composed of the 1st 
Battalions 50th, 71st and 92nd Regiments, one company 
60th Rifles, and three six-pounders, supported by Morillo's 
Spanish infantry, formed the left column, and, commanded 
by Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart, were pushed forward direct 



upon the town ; the 50th and the guns remained a short 
distance in reserve. Colonel Wilson's brigade, consisting 
of the 1st Battalion 28th, 2nd Battalions 34th and 39th 
Eegiments, one company 60th Rifles, the 6th Portuguese 
regiment of the line, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel 
Ashurst, with two six-pounders and a howitzer, formed 
the right column. The cavalry, commanded by Sir William 
Erskine, formed a third column ; these were placed in the 
centre, ready for any emergency. All being prepared, all 
suddenly moved forward, favoured by the elements, which, 
but a few moments ago furiously raging, now as if by 
command became perfectly calm and the dense fog ; 
clearing away, our left column were absolutely entering 
the town before the enemy were aware of our vicinity. 
Although one of their brigades had marched an hour 
previously for Merida, their main body were only now 
getting under arms to follow. The 71st and 92nd 
Regiments cheered and charged through the town, 
making a few prisoners, but had some men cut down 
by the opposing cavalry. The enemy, driven out of the 
place, formed in two columns on the plain outside, under 
the base of Montanchez, protected by their cavalry. 
Casting a glance to the north, they perceived the 50th 
Regiment with the guns advancing. The fire from the 
71st Light Infantry, issuing from the gardens, disturbed 
their close formation ; and in the meantime the 92nd 
Regiment filed through the streets and formed line 
on the enemy's flank, who, upon this double assault, 
commenced a rapid retreat, as they thought, reducing 
the front of their columns, who were headed by their 
cavalry. This, advance or retreat, was performed with 
such celerity that they were soon lost sight of by our left 



At this juncture the Spanish cavalry commanded by 
that active officer, Count Penne Villamnr, rode into the 
plain and separated the enemy's horsemen from their 
infantry. The count steadily, though not furiously, 
maintained his part until the British cavalry came up, who, 
in consequence of the rude darkness of the night and 
roughness of the roads and ground, had been delayed in 
their advance. There was also an equestrian Spanish band, 
clothed like harlequins and commanded by a person once 
rational, but now bent on charging with his motley crew 
the hardy and steadily disciplined cavalry of France ; and 
yet, however personally brave their commander, Mr. 
Commissary Downy, little could be expected from this 
fantastic and unruly squadron, who displayed neither order 
nor discipline. Intractable as swine, obstinate as mules 
and unmanageable as bullocks, they were cut up like 
rations or dispersed in all directions like a flock of scared 

The British cavalry having at length come up, ac- 
companied by the German hussars, the affair became more 
serious. A brisk charge by two squadrons of the 2nd 
Germans and one squadron of the 9th English Dragoons 
led by Captain Gore, the whole commanded by Major 
Busshe of the Germans, put the French cavalry to flight. 
Their infantry still pushed forward with uncommon 
rapidity, yet in perfect order, fancying without doubt that 
all their danger was left behind. But as they approached 
the eastern horn of the crescent range of the Sierra 
Montanchez, by passing round which they expected to gain 
the Trujillo road, they were met directly in front by our 
right column, headed by the light companies of the 28th, 
34th and 39th Regiments. Here a rather unfortunate 
circumstance took place. About ten minutes before we 


saw the head of the enemy's approaching column^ four of 
their guns whipping at speed crossed in front of the 
light companies who formed the advance guard of our 
column. We were immediately ordered to follow and try 
to overtake them ; and we consequently brought forward 
our left shoulders and attempted a double quick movement 
through ploughed ground, soaked by several days' previous 
rain, every step bringing the men nearly up to the knee 
in clammy mud. When we had made a mock run for 
eight or ten minutes. General Hill, who saw the movement, 
ordered ns to desist, as the cavalry would take the guns ; 
they were soon afterwards captured by the 13th Light 

We now brought up our right shoulders and faced the 
enemy's column, the head of which was by this time close 
at hand. A low ridge or rising ground was between us, 
and, the 28th Light Company leading, I galloped up the 
ascent, urged by the ambition natural to youth to be the 
first to meet the foe. In this however I was disappointed ; 
for on gaining the summit I discovered immediately on 
my left General Hill with his aide-de-camp, the late 
Colonel Curry, attended by one sole dragoon. The light 
company came quickly up and commenced firing (the 
enemy not above a hundred yards distant), upon which the 
general showed his disapprobation in as marked a manner 
as a person could do who never, under any excitement 
whatsoever, forgot that he was a gentleman ; at 
this moment he felt highly excited. The enemy per- 
ceived it impossible to pass by us, and as our left column 
were moving up in their rear every eye was casting 
a woeful look up the side of the dark and stubborn 
Montanchez, which forbade access ; they saw no mode 
of escape. Becoming desperate, and arriving at where 


the monntain began to dip, they made a rash at the 
broad and high stone wall which ran along its base, 
and tearing open a breach, the head of their column, 
led by General Gerard, entered the opening at the very 
moment that the light company topped the rising ground 
and saw them. Thus did Gerard make his escape, which 
he could not have effected had we not been sent trotting 
after the guns, by which we lost upwards of twenty minutes* 

But there was still a remedy left, had it been taken 
advantage of, as will afterwards be shown. I observed 
the displeasure which our men's firing gave the general, 
who at the moment used the remarkable words, " Soldiers, 
I have done my duty in showing you the enemy ; do you 
yours by closing on them." Upon this truly eloquent and 
inspiring appeal, which must have fired the breast of the 
most phlegmatic, I instantly placed my cap on the point 
of my sword, and waving it over my head I rode between 
the contending troops to prevent the light company from 
firing, exhorting them to come on with the bayonet, a 
weapon which they well knew from experience the enemy 
could never resist. The men whom I addressed, 28th Light 
Company, had fought at Barossa and Albuera, and some 
still there were of the hardy old veterans of Galicia. I 
mention the 28th Light Company, since they were the 
company who led and whom I commanded ; they instantly 
obeyed the call, and I need scarcely say that the other 
light companies of the brigade were not less prompt. 
All knew the efficiency of the weapon mentioned, and 
knowing it came forward undauntedly, although at the 
moment the odds against them were fearful. The three 
companies could not muster two hundred bayonets ; the 
column to be charged amounted to nearly fifteen hundred 


As the captain of the company, not knowing the enemy 
to be so near, had remained behind to behold a charge made 
by the harlequin equestrians, I had an opportunity of 
leading the 28th Light Company into the body of General 
Gerard's column, the head having unfortunately previously 
escaped through the breach in the wall. 

Having brought the company in collision with the enemy, 
and being a pretty fair fox-hunter and well mounted, I 
jumped the wall, my horse carrying me stoutly over, 
although, with the exception of few and short intervals, 
1 had been on his back for six and thirty hours. The wall 
being crossed, absurd as it may appear, alone I met the 
then head of the enemy's column. A scuffle ensued ; I 
lost my horse and cap, but not my sword. 

My address to the light company, as well as what 
followed, was in the presence of General Hill, who as 
I write commands the army in chief ; and I trust to escape 
a suspicion of exaggeration in my recital of what took 
place, for however inclined I might feel to extol my own 
services on the occasion, anything I could allege would fall 
short of Lord Hill's testimony, stated in his letter to Lord 
Fitzroy Somerset, Military Secretary, dated Portalegre 
November 24th, 1811. 

Soon after I crossed the wall, Lieutenants Potter, 28th, 
and Sullivan, 34th Regiments, at the head of some men of 
their respective light companies, charged through the breach, 
now almost choked with French, when all who had not 
previously escaped were made prisoners ; and Lord Hill 
may recollect that, whilst as yet only the light companies 
of Colonel Wilson's brigade were come up and engaged, 
his lordship made upwards of a thousand prisoners, who 
threw down their arms, all or most of whom would have 
escaped had not those companies undauntedly and quickly 


rushed forward. Had we been so fortunate as to come 
up twenty minutes sooner, General Gerard and every man 
in his army must inevitably have been taken. No military 
enterprise throughout the Peninsular War was more 
judiciously planned or more promptly executed. 

The light companies now pushed forward in pursuit 
of Gerard and the fugitives ; every yard we advanced 
prisoners were made. Having continued the chase to 
beyond the crest of the hill, I was amazingly surprised 
at seeing Gerard descending down the road leading to 
Merida, about two hundred yards beneath us ; he was 
accompanied by very few men, for the ground was broken 
and rocky and very difficult to pass over. Some French 
officers, who rushed through the wall on horseback, had 
been immediately obliged to dismount, and, formation of 
any kind being impossible, groups of the enemy continually 
descended in small numbers, who, on reaching the road, 
ran forward to join those who had already arrived. But my 
astonishment was caused at seeing a squadron of British 
cavalry drawn up on the road who moved not at all, 
although within a hundred yards of where Gerard and the 
enemy descended in these small bodies from the mountain. 
Some time afterwards I asked the officer who commanded 
the squadron how it was he did not charge the fugitives, 
remarking that he lost an opportunity which most probably 
would never again present itself, that of taking prisoner 
the enemy's commanding general. He replied with perfect 
seriousness that his orders were to halt on that road, and 
that therefore the escape of the enemy was no affair of 
his ; that had he been ordered to charge, he would have 
done so willingly. This I firmly believe ; and he was not 
very long afterwards killed while gallantly charging with 
his regiment. What increased my astonishment was that 


the enemy descended on to the road exactly in his front, 
and moved away from him ; for the squadron were drawn 
up to face the direction which the French took, being the 
only one by which they could escape. 

The British loss in the action was trifling : seven rank 
and file killed ; seven oflScers and between fifty and sixty 
rank and file wounded. On the part of the enemy, General 
Gerard's corps were almost totally destroyed or dispersed. 
General Le Brun, Colonel the Prince D'Arenberg, both 
of the cavalry, Colonel Andree, Adjutant-General, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Yoirol, and another lieutenant-colonel whose 
name I forget, Gerard's aide-de-camp, one commissary, 
thirty captains and subalterns, and upwards of fifteen 
hundred rank and file were made prisoners. The whole 
of their guns, waggons, baggage and magazines were 
captured. Their loss in killed and wounded could not be 
ascertained from the nature of the ground, but it must have 
been considerable. The light companies were firing 
during four hours, while they chased the fugitives up the 
hill of Montanchez and down the other side until we 
nearly reached the road. When General Morillo returned 
next morning, having continued the pursuit all night, he 
reported that, exclusive of those who fell on the plain, 
upwards of six hundred dead or dying were found in the 
woods and among the mountains. 

In consequence of the severe fatigue which the army 
had suffered immediately before the action, as well as the 
necessity of bringing the prisoners together, the light 
companies were called in. On arriving on the plain I was 
not a little surprised at the general greeting I met from 
the whole regiment, who with the 34th had been some 
time in the plain. When the regiment had approached 
the breach in the wall, my horse was found in possession 


of a French soldier and my cap at the foot of the hill 
where it had rolled down. I was consequently put down 
as either among the slain or made prisoner ; and upon 
this Colonel Abercrombie had said that he was excessively 
sorry for the circumstance, but that it was all my own 
seeking, because I declined remaining with him. 



^T^HE troops now entered the town of Arroyo Molinos, 
and I proceeded directly to the Prince D'Arenberg's 
quarters, to which I was called by General Hill, who 
requested that I would accompany the prince to Lisbon, 
and this too at the prince's request. Upon my expressing 
an unwillingness thus to go to the rear, the general paid 
me a very flattering compliment, saying that had he not 
deemed it necessary to retire in a day or two at the 
farthest, he would not request, nor even consent to my 
leaving the army even for a day ; but that Soult's corps 
were advancing, which rendered it necessary for him to 
retire. Colonel Rook, the adjutant-general, being present, 
asked me with what escort I would undertake the charge, 
and if I thought twenty men sufficient. I offered to be 
responsible for the prince's safe conveyance with four men 
and two dragoons. Rook replied that he would double the 
number of infantry which he proposed, but could not grant 
a single dragoon. I then consented to go with a corporal 
and six men of my own regiment. He agreed to the 
number but not to the regiment ; the bulk of the prisoners 
were to be escorted by a suitable detachment of the 34th, 
and he could not break up a second regiment. And so 
with Corporal Hughes and six men of the 34th I com- 
menced my march for Lisbon. 



I very soon repented of having taken so small an escort, 
not on account of the prince, but of the French commissary, 
whom, at the particular request of the prince, I allowed, 
though unwillingly, to accompany him ; had I foreseen the 
annoyance and danger which his presence caused I 
certainly should have refused the request. In proceeding 
through the Spanish frontier we passed through the same 
towns which Gerard occupied during his foraging, or rather 
marauding excursion immediately before ; and it required 
all my exertions to protect the commissary from being torn 
to pieces. The peasantry collected round the houses where 
we halted for the night, loudly demanding the commissary ; 
and although I harangued them and pointed out the 
national disgrace that would attend any outrage committed 
on the prisoners, and the insult it would be to England 
whose prisoners they were and consequently under her 
protection, still I felt it always prudent to make the guard 
load in their presence, and to place double sentries over 
the house, with orders, loudly delivered, to shoot any who 
should attempt a forcible entrance. 

Although the escort consisted but of ten persons, the 
corporal and his party of six, my servant, batman, and self, 
and the prisoners amounted to the same number — viz., the 
prince, a captain of his regiment, his secretary, two cooks, 
his Swiss coachman, three other servants and the com- 
missary — still I allowed them all to carry arms. I felt no 
dread of their escaping, being fully convinced that they 
were much more inclined to remain my prisoners than 
think of escape, for they were fully aware that they would 
be torn to atoms by the enraged peasantry ; moreover the 
prince, in whose honour I confided, held himself responsible 
for all. I remarked to the prince with a smile in the 
presence of the whole party, that I felt certain his pledge 


was not endangered, stating the reasons above mentioned ;- 
yet I told him plainly that if his authority were not suffi- 
cient to oblige the commissary (who was present) to keep 
more retired, and not with imprudent gasconade to present 
himself at the doors and windows and thus irritate an 
enraged population, I should reluctantly be compelled to 
make him a close prisoner and place a sentry over him, not 
so much for his safety as for that of others, whom I held in 
higher consideration. But although I gained my point, yet 
until I got across the Spanish frontier I was in continual 
alarm, all owing to our graminivorous companion. Albeit 
though this commissary certainly was as impertinent and 
forward a fellow as I ever met with, still he could not in 
justice be held personally responsible for the outrages which 
drew upon him this general odium ; for when he robbed 
the peasantry of all their grain, cattle and provisions of 
every kind, and as much specie as he could grasp, he acted 
under superior command ; he was therefore but a simple 
machine. But the lower orders, solely interested in present 
good or evil, rarely investigate the remote cause which 
produces the present effect. 

The last Spanish town through which we passed was 
Valencia de Alcantara ; and here I had the honour of 
reporting our arrival to the captain-general of the province, 
General Castanos, a fine fat jolly-looking fellow. Being 
about to quit the Spanish territory next day, the prince 
and I entered into a conversation about the general 
character of the inhabitants. 

In allusion to the late action and the movements which 
led to that event, I warmly expatiated on the praiseworthy 
fidelity of the Spaniards, particularly those of Arroyo 
Molinos and Alcuescar, in never having communicated our 
near approach to the French army. The prince replied 


that they did not nse snch fidelity as I imagined, for the 
night previous to the action two Spaniards came to his 
quarters in Arroyo Molinos and informed him that we 
were much nearer than the French general seemed to be 
aware of; that upon this he immediately imparted the 
information to Gerard, who replied : " Prince, you are a 
good and active soldier, but you always see the English in 
your front, rear and flank. I tell you they are eight leagues 
distant, for I know to a certainty that they were seen in 
the morning marching hastily towards Caceres, thinking 
to find us .there ; and so confident do I feel as to the 
certainty of what I tell you that I shall delay the march 
to-morrow an hour later to give the men more time for 
repose." Much hurt at the general's remark, which had 
the appearance of insinuating that he entertained a dread 
of encountering the English, the prince returned to his 
quarters. About an hour before dawn next morning the 
general sent for him, according to custom, to take a glass of 
old rum ; this he declined, the conversation of the previous 
evening being still painfully in his recollection. In less 
than an hour afterwards he heard a loud and confused cry in 
the streets, when instantly his adjutant darted breathless 
into the room holloaing out, " Mon prince ! mon prince ! 
nous sommes attrapes ! " The English were driving 
through the town. At the heels of the adjutant in rushed 
Gerard, aghast and foaming at the mouth, and exhorted 
the prince to use every exertion to get the cavalry out of 
the town. " Ha ! " said the prince, " do I always see the 
English where they are not ? " ^^ For the love of God," 
replied Gerard, " do not add to my distraction. This is not 
a time for badinage or reproof; exert yourself to the 
utmost or we are undone. The English are forcing 
their way through the town. Get the cavalry out and 


form on the plain as quickly as possible." The rest I 

Next morning we left Valencia before dawn and were 
soon in the Portugnese territory. The prisoners now 
breathed freely, not having felt very secnre during our 
route through Spain. The mountains we had now to cross 
were very steep and excessively difficult of ascent^ 
especially with a wheeled vehicle. The prince travelled 
very comfortably in a handsome carriage taken at Arroyo 
Molinos, in which fortunately he was always accom- 
panied by his graminivorous friend, whom the prince 
and I used facetiously to call Bucephalus. Four large 
Spanish mules which drew the carriage being insufficient 
to haul it up those hills, I directed that a couple of bullocks 
which were ploughing alongside the road should be added 
to the team. The harnessing was attempted in a violent 
manner by the Swiss coachman, an immensely stout and 
large person ; but one of the animals becoming very restive,, 
severely wounded him with one of his horns. The wound 
was excessively severe and dangerous, but being ignorant 
of technical terms I must decline attempting a description^ 
The coachman, becoming furious from pain, drew his sabre,, 
and cutting and slashing right and left so wounded the 
bullock that I ordered the guard to disarm him, and never 
after allowed him to carry any other weapon than his 
whip, although he frequently entreated the prince to inter- 
cede for the recovery of his sabre. The owners having 
interposed, the animals were quietly harnessed, and after 
a long pull we at last reached the summit. Owing to 
its great height and the season being rather advanced 
(the middle of November), the atmosphere was excessively 
cold. We halted on this our first Portuguese mountain 
for some hours, and I cannot forget our delicious repast. 


upon roasted chestnuts and goats' milk, plentifnlly supplied 
by the Portuguese shepherds. Thunderstruck on hearing 
that one of their guests was no less a personage than a 
prince, they crowded round the blazing fire before which we 
were feasting to have the illustrious stranger pointed out, 
no doubt expecting to see in a person of such exalted rank 
-something superhuman. 

Continuing our route tranquilly and without any adven- 
ture, we arrived at Portalegre, which again became General 
Hill's headquarters. Here we halted for a few days, during 
which we were visited by Prince Pierre d'Arenberg, who had 
procured General Hill's permission to come and see his 
brother, in whose regiment he was a cornet. Prince 
Prosper felt some delicacy in conversing with him except 
in my presence ; but as I received no decisive instructions 
on the subject, I declined intruding on their conversation ; 
and feeling in no way anxious to pry into their family 
concerns, I remarked to Prince Prosper that he had nothing 
of military consequence to communicate, and as to the 
treatment which he met with from the British it was but just 
that he should have an opportunity of declaring it to his 
brother, free of all restraint which my presence might 
impose. The princes expressed their thanks in the 
warmest manner ; and Prince Prosper remarked that it was 
well that he should have a private opportunity of telling 
his brother of the kind and generous manner in which he 
had been treated, which was of such a nature that, re- 
counted in the presence of an Englishman, it must have 
th.e appearance of exaggeration and flattery, and more 
particularly if told in my presence, who stood first in 
courtesy and generous conduct. I imbibed the potion and 
retired to the next room. 

before we continued our route towards Lisbon, Colonel 


Abercrombie sent me a message from Albuquerque to say- 
that, not being present at wbat took place with the light 
company in the late action, it being detached from the 
battalion, he could not directly recommend me for my 
conduct on the occasion ; but he requested me to forward a 
memorial of my general services through him, thus giving 
him an opportunity of giving his testimony to my services 
throughout. This generous communication I of course 
acted upon immediately ; and I wrote to Lord iLynedoch 
on the subject, from whom I shortly after received the 
following letter : — 

"Lbgiora, Novemler lUh, 181 L 
" My Deah Blakeney, — I did you all justice, I assure you, 
before at the Horse Guards, and have just written again to 
Colonel Torrens to remind him of all I said after Barossa, and 
to request that he will state my testimony to the Duke of York 
in aid of your memorial. Excuse this hasty scrawl, And believe 
me truly yours 

"Thomas Graham. 
"Lieutenant Blakeney, ^Wi Foot" 

However flattering such a letterjwas to me, or must be to 
any officer however high his rank, when coming from such 
a person as Lord Lynedoch, yet it is not from motives of 
vanity that I give it publicity, but rather to reflect its true 
merit back to the pure fount whence it sprung. Any 
attempt at eulogy from so humble an individual as myself 
could add but little to the brilliancy which his splendid 
achievements throw around Lord Lynedoch. I shall there- 
fore confine myself to saying, in the unsophisticated phrase 
of an old campaigner, that the zealous oflicer who willingly 
and conscientiously discharges his duty, though naked of 
other patronage or support, will always find in his lordship 
his most willing supporter and unswerving friend. Here 


will be seen an officer, higli in rank and still higher in 
reputation, commanding a corps of the most uniformly 
victorious army which ever graced the military annals of 
any nation whatever, writing in familiar language to a 
subaltern officer, showing anxiety for his interests and 
using every exertion to forward his promotion from no other 
motive than the belief that he had fully discharged his 
duties to his king and country to the utmost of his 
abilities. I had no introduction from influential friends 
to his lordship, nor had I the honour of his acquaintance 
previous to the expedition from Tarifa and the occurrences 
which took place in the battle of Barossa. No doubt 
generals in high or chief command willingly forward the 
claims of officers whom they consider deserving while they 
continue to serve under them ; but I am ignorant of any 
other instance where claims on patronage have been invited 
and called for, such as in the letter written by Lord 
Lynedoch to Colonel Browne at Tarifa, requesting the 
name of any officer of the flank battalion under his command 
who had distinguished himself at the battle of Barossa. 
How much more in unison with the genius of Britain and 
with the spirit of her free and liberal institutions, and how 
much more nobly is the general employed who, like Lord 
Lynedoch, diligently and openly seeks through his ranks 
for objects worthy his protection, than he who indefatigably 
searches for pretexts for a clandestine representation, 
generally a misrepresentation ! And it is not a little to 
be wondered at that England, which ever was and ever 
will be inimical to the introduction of the inquisition in 
any country, should harbour that wicked and degrading 
institution throughout every branch of her Service which 
is smoothly termed " confidential reports," thus turning 
the Army in particular, whose constitution is based on 


the most scrupulous adherence to the highest and nicest 
principles of honour, into a graduated corps of spies from 
the ensign up to the general. Great Britain does not 
reflect that by encouraging these confidential or clandestine 
reports she is inflicting an insulting and severe censure 
on the laws and morals of the nation, as not being sufficient 
to govern by open and legitimate means. 

To remove an officer from the Service upon a confidential 
report is both unjust and impolitic, and answers no good 
end. It is but natural to suppose that when a senior officer 
accuses a junior by means of clandestine reports, with 
the hope of having him removed from the Service without 
trial, that this dark mode of procedure arises from inade- 
quacy of matter to bear him out, or for reasons still darker 
than the foul means adopted. But supposing even that 
it should be made evident to His Majesty that the officer 
so reported is unworthy of continuing in the Service, is 
it politic to remove him from it without assigning a 
<jause or making his delinquency public ? When a robber 
or even murderer is executed, it is not from a vindictive 
motive, it takes place as a dreadful warning to deter 
others from committing a similar crime; therefore due 
punishment cannot be made too public, or its imperative 
necessity too strongly impressed on the minds of the 
people. The injustice of these secret proceedings was 
clearly shown at Malta in 1821, at which time I was 
quartered there. A commanding officer in the garrison 
«o blackened the characters of a large portion of his 
officers through confidential reports that it was determined 
to have the greater number of them removed from the 
Service. This was discovered by means of a lady of the 
regiment, who carelessly said to another that she would 
;soon see the junior captain become the senior ; this being 



repeated soon became known throughout the corps, when 
the officers fortunately arrived at the true cause of the 
threatened removal. Consequently, and very naturally, 
they spoke openly. To avert the evil they asserted that 
tyranny, oppression and falsehood had been used towards 
them. This coming to the knowledge of the commanding 
general, Sir . Thomas Maitland, he ordered a court of 
inquiry. He clearly stated that from the reports which he 
had received from the commanding officer he had intended 
to recommend that many officers of the regiment should 
be removed from the Service ; but in consequence of its 
coming to his knowledge that the commanding officer 
was far from immaculate, and that oppression or unfounded 
reports might have been resorted to, he thus gave the 
officers an opportunity not only to exonerate themselves 
from the charges alleged against them, but also to declare 
their grievances. What was the consequence ? One 
subaltern was brought to court-martial by the commanding 
officer and was acquitted ; but the commanding officer 
was brought to trial upon two-and-twenty grave charges, 
on one-and-twenty of which he was found guilty, and as 
a matter of course publicly dismissed the Service. 

So much for confidential reports. Who can count the 
number of high-spirited noble and gallant youths who 
have fallen victims, or whose prospects have been blasted 
through this dastardly mode of proceeding? It is the 
noble-minded and high-spirited alone who call for pro- 
tection against such an iniquitous system ; the fawning 
and servile are sure to escape, and not unfrequently with 
rewards. The duties of a commanding officer are manifold ; 
and he who does not execute them with temperance, justice 
and impartiality is not for that responsible post. 

I had the good fortune of being intimately acquainted 


with that gallant and sterling soldier, General Ross, who 
should be held up as a model for commanding officers of 
regiments. He at once was the father and brother of 
every officer in his corps, and was on the most familiar 
and intimate terms with every officer down to the junior 
ensign ; yet none ever dared or attempted to take the 
slightest liberty which could be considered, even by the 
severest martinet, as derogatory in the slightest degree to 
the respect due to the commanding officer or injurious to 
the maintenance of the strictest discipline. The respect 
entertained by all for Colonel Ross was entirely matter of 
sentiment and good feeling. The lively, though sometimes 
imprudent sallies of a glowing mind were by him rather 
laughed away than harshly or even seriously chided ; the 
feelings of a gentleman were never wounded in cooling the 
fervid ebullitions of youth. He felt fully sensible that the 
military laws, as sanctioned by his country, were sufficient 
for the ends desired, and therefore never resorted to the 
cowardly subterfuge of stabbing in the dark by means of 
clandestine reports, which are never resorted to except by 
those who from meanness of capacity or want of resolution 
shudder at a fearless and open discharge of their duty, or 
whose vicious and vindictive natures induce them to strike 
the deadly blow unseen. Such a liberal and just command- 
ing officer did exist, I know, in the person of the late 
General Ross when commanding the 20th Regiment ; and 
such a commanding officer does exist, I have been told, 
in the person of Sir Edward Blakeney, commanding the 
Royal Fusiliers. 



A FTER a short halt at Portalegre Prince Pierre re- 
^ turned to his regiment, and we continued our route 
to Lisbon. On arriving at Abrantes Prince Prosper was 
splendidly entertained by Colonel Buchan, who commanded 
there. The roads being here impassable for a carriage, 
that in which the prince travelled was left behind ; and 
we proceeded in a comfortable boat down the Tagus to 
Lisbon, where we safely arrived. 

The orders which I received immediately on my arrival 
were that the prince should never leave the Duke de 
Cadoval's palace, in which we were lodged, except in my 
company ; and I was never to go out with him in other 
than my scarlet uniform. These orders came direct from 
the Duke of Wellington. The strictness with which I 
was directed to attend so particularly upon the prince did 
not arise from any want of confidence in his parole ; it 
was the better to protect him, for such was the state of 
public ferment at the time in Lisbon that nothing but 
British protection could save him from public and most 
probably serious insult and outrage. This state of general 
excitement was caused by reports in the Spanish papers, 
as also by the assertions of many Spaniards then in Lisbon, 
that when Ballesteros was defeated by the French at 



Ayamonte, the prince, who served there with his regiment 
of cavalry, cut many hundred Spaniards to pieces who were 
unarmed and who never carried arms in their lives. At 
his own particular request I showed him the Spanish 
gazettes in which his alleged cruelty was most severely 
reprobated. On perusing the papers he remarked with a 
laugh, " How stupid these Spaniards in thinking that by 
thus abusing me they do me injury! The fools are not 
aware that the more they accuse me of cruelty the stronger 
will be the conviction in the breast of the emperor that 1 
did my duty zealously." I merely asked if the emperor 
required such mode of performing duty. A momentary 
reserve ensued ; it was but of short duration. In truth, 
from the commencement of our acquaintance to our parting 
we lived on the most friendly and intimate terms, and 
seemed more like two intimate young gentlemen of equal 
rank than simple Mr. and a Serene Highness. 

The prince was entertained by all the British authorities 
in Lisbon. On one occasion he was invited to dine with 
Major-General Sir James Leith, but I was not included 
in the invitation. The prince would rather have declined, 
but I persuaded him to go, and accompanied him to 
Sir James's house. Asking for an aide-de-camp, I gave 
the prince to his care, telling him that I expected that 
he would not return except accompanied by an officer : 
I then immediately retired. I was very happy at having 
this opportunity of going out to see some old friends ; I 
had many, having been twice previously in Lisbon. On 
my return, which was rather late, I found the aide-de-camp 
asleep on the sofa, and the prince sitting by his side 
laughing. On awakening he told me that he received Sir 
James Leith's positive injunctions not to quit the prince 
until my return home ; and he gave me a very polite 


message from the general, stating his regret that he was 
unacquainted with the mutual obligation that existed 
between the prince and me or he would certainly have 
invited me to dine. Sir James called next day, and 
repeated what the aide-de-camp had previously said. A 
nearly similar occurrence took place the second time we 
dined with Marshal Beresford. 

These invitations were highly honourable to me ; but 
it was complete servitude, and made me as much a prisoner 
as the prince, with the additional weight of responsibility. 
The strict obligation of always accompanying the prince 
in my uniform interfered with many amusements. In 
going to the theatres he was instantly recognised and 
rudely stared at ; and even had we risked going in plain 
clothes, contrary to our instructions, there still remained 
an obstacle. The prince wore mustachios, by which he 
would be immediately known, and with these he was very 
unwilling to part. I told him that if he shaved them 
off, I should run all hazard and accompany him in plain 
clothes in some of our nocturnal rambles. After urgent 
expostulations on my part and profound sighs on his, he 
consented to have them removed. He sat down before a 
mirror, determined, despite of cavalry pride, to cut down 
the long, long cherished bristly curls of war. His hand 
trembled. He shrank from the first touch of the razor, 
yet he bore the amputation of the right wing with tolerable 
fortitude ; then, turning to me with a deep sigh, he held 
up the amputated member clotted with lethal soap. He 
looked mournful and pale ; but however I may have com- 
miserated his grief, for the life of me I could not refrain 
from laughing aloud at the appearance of his face with 
one mustachio only, which, deprived of its old companion, 
appeared double its former length. I requested him to 


give the hanger-on no quarter, but instantly to cut him 
down ; the operation soon followed. The mustachios were 
washed, cleaned and dried, then carefully wrapped up in 
silver paper and forwarded with a pathetic letter to the 
duchess, his wife. The prince declared that he never again 
would act the soldier either for Napoleon or any other. 
This determination arose entirely from his being tired of 
the army, not from cutting off the mustachios, which act 
bore no analogy to the story of Delilah ; and although I 
was instrumental in cutting off the hairs of war if not of 
strength, he never found in me a Philistine. A tailor was 
now sent for to make him a brown-coated gentleman. 

We now felt no obstacle to our enjoyment of many 
amusements from which we previously were debarred. 
For such was the metamorphosis from the splendid cavalry 
uniform, highly decorated breast, blackened and curled 
whiskers and mustachios and the fierce toict-ensemble to 
the simple brown coat and the plain civic face, that had 
I not been present at the barbarous deed, I scarcely could 
have believed him to be the same person ; and such was 
my reliance on his word that I felt no hesitation about his 
going out, even alone. 

The prince entertained very liberally whilst in Lisbon ; 
when he was not dining out, there were twelve covers at his 
table for the officers, his fellow prisoners, who were invited 
in rotation. One officer alone, a lieutenant of artillery, was 
never invited. It was alleged that when we attacked on 
the morning of the action, this unfortunate young man, 
who commanded the artillery, had no matches lit, and that 
had he been prepared we must have lost more men in 
killed and wounded while filing through the town ; in 
consequence, he was cut by every French officer in Lisbon. 
I felt much for him, and mentioned to the prince that 


where they were all alike unfortunate, it appeared invidious 
to single out one for neglect ; for whatever his fault 
might have been, it could not have had the slightest effect 
in changing the result of the action. The prince, although 
a stern soldier, somewhat relented ; but there was such a 
person as Napoleon to be taken into consideration. How- 
ever, he mentioned the circumstance to General Le Brun, 
expressing an inclination to become reconciled to the 
artillery officer. Le Brun would not listen to it, alleging 
that it would be setting a dangerous example to look over 
or in any way countenance gross neglect of duty, at the 
same time casting a scowling look at me, knowing that it 
was I who spoke to the prince on the subject. Annoyed 
at his obduracy and a little nettled by his indignant 
look, I asked him if he did not think that, had there been 
mounted patrols on the look-out to give alarm in proper 
time, the artillery officer, thus warned, would have had his 
guns in battle array ; instead of which, we came absolutely 
into the town without encountering a single French dragoon. 
The general treated my observation with haughty silence ; 
but the French adjutant-general, also a prisoner, being 
present, darted a fiery glance at Le Brun, and would no 
doubt have applied his censure of the artillery officer to 
himself, had he not been restrained out of consideration 
for the prince, who was second in command of the 
cavalry. Le Brun was disliked by all from his haughty 
and overbearing manner. When after the action the 
officers made prisoners were required to sign their parole, 
Le Brun refused, saying that the word of a general of the 
French was sufficient. Our quartermaster-general. Colonel 
Offley, a gallant and determined soldier, a German by 
birth, soon settled the affair in a summary way by giving 
orders that if the general refused to sign his parole, he 


was to be marched with the bulk of the prisoners. This 
order cooled the general's hauteur : he subscribed. 

On one occasion, when a large party of French officers 
dined with us, the prince asked me to what town in 
England I thought it likely he would be sent as prisoner 
of war. This I could not possibly answer. He then 
asked which I considered the second town in England. 
I said that from a commercial point of view we generally 
ranked Liverpool next to London ; but as places of fashion- 
able resort Brighton, Bath and Cheltenham ranked much 
alike. I inadvertently asked him which he considered 
the second town in France. " Rome," said he, " ranks 
the second and Amsterdam the third." I remarked that 
then we had no longer an Italy or a Holland. " Yes," 
replied the prince, " we have both ; but by a late edict 
of the Emperor those two towns are annexed to France^ 
but it is not the policy of England to recognise it." I 
made a low bow. In compliment to me, I suppose, the 
prince changed the topic immediately, saying that he 
dreaded a ship so much that he would sooner fight the 
battles of Talavera and Albuera over again than undertake 
so long a voyage as that to England. I told him to 
quiet himself on that head, for he might get to England 
in two hours. The whole company stared, but particularly 
Le Brun, who was always a standing dish at the prince's 
table. Speculation ran high. A balloon was generally 
suggested, but the velocity even of this was doubted. I 
denied the agency of a balloon, and maintained that 
it was to be accomplished by wind and water solely. As 
I still withheld an explanation, the prince got off his 
chair, and flinging away his little foraging cap said, " If 
you do not tell us I shall give you a kiss, and I know 
that you would sooner get a slap on the face than be 


kissed by a man." On his advancing towards me, I requested 
that he would sit down and I would give him an explanation 
which I felt persuaded would convince all present that 
my assertion was perfectly correct. At this a general laugh 
followed. The prince being re-seated, I addressed him 
thus : " In less than two hours after you leave the 
quay, you will have got rid of all the boats which impede 
your passage down the Tagus, and immediately after you 
will steer clear of Fort St. Julian at the influx of the 
river. You are then at sea and arrived; for by an old 
edict, recognised by every sovereign in Europe, * All the 
seas are England.'" The whole company endeavoured, 
although awkwardly, to force a laugh, except Le Brun, 
whose scowling frown indicated his chagrin, and I fancied 
that I distinguished the word bctise muttered between 
his teeth. I longed for an opportunity of paying him oif ; 
it soon occurred. 

Le Brun called next morning, as usual big with nothing. 
Perceiving that he wished to be alone with the prince, 
I retired to the next room. Soon after the prince requested 
me to come back. He was much excited, and flinging 
his cap on the floor, " Only think," said he, " what the 
general has been telling me as an undoubted fact. Some 
rascally Portuguese has persnaded him to believe that 
above a hundred sail of French line of battleships have 
appeared before Cadiz ; that the British squadron, stationed 
there, were compelled to fly ; that the fortress must 
immediately surrender, and consequently all Spain must 
soon be in our possession. In the first place," added the 
prince, "all the navy of France do not amount to the 
number which the general says are before Cadiz, without 
taking into consideration the utter impossibility of their 
being enabled to form such a junction unmolested in the 


face of the British navy. If a corporal of my regiment 
told me such a story, believing it, I should turn him into 
the ranks." At this remark the general became highly 
indignant, and the prince's excitement much increased. 
To restore tranquillity I asked the general about the 
appearance of the person who gave him the important 
information ; and nodding assent to his description, I 
exclaimed, " The very man v^ho spoke to me this morning." 
" There," said the general, happy to have anything like 
corroboration ; " and what did he tell you ? " I looked 
round with much apparent precaution, and after anxious 
pressing on his part and affected hesitation on mine, I 
got quite close to the prince and the general, who took 
a chair. I then in a low tone of voice, our three heads 
nearly touching, said : " When I came to Lisbon this same 
Portuguese was pointed out to me as a person who always 
possessed much information, but sold it dearly." All this 
time the prince was staring at me, knowing that I bore 
no great affection for the general. *' But," said the general, 
"what information did he give you? " " He told me that 
he knew to a certainty, from a source which could not 
be doubted — I think you said one hundred ? " " Yes," re- 
plied Le Brun, " one hundred sail of the line." " He told 
me," I resumed, " that there were two hundred thousand 
British troops absolutely on the boulevards of Paris, but 
not a single soul could tell whence they came. I gave my 
informant six gros sous : how much did you give, mon 
general ? " At this the prince absolutely became convulsed 
with laughter. The general darted from his chair, snatched 
up his hat, and turning his head half round gave us the 
most ungracious bonjour that I ever heard escape the 
lips of a Frenchman, and then strode out of the room. 
Scarcely had he left when the prince ran forward and 


absolutely embraced me, saying that I bad done bim tbe 
greatest favour wbicb I could possibly confer, as be felt 
sure tbe general would torment bim no more. He wa» 
rigbt ; Le Brun never again called. 

About tbis time a very laugbable scene took place in 
Lisbon. An announcement was published in tbe papers 
tbat an English officer would walk across tbe Tagus with 
cork boots. At tbe hour specified tbe concourse was 
immense ; twenty thousand persons at least were collected 
at Belem, the place indicated. Every boat on tbe Tagus 
and every vehicle in the town, of whatever description, 
was hired for several days previously. A Portuguese guard 
were posted to keep tbe cork-boot platform clear, and a 
military band attended ; it was in fact a magnificent 
pageant. At length the hour of execution arrived, but no 
cork boots ; hour after hour passed, but still the principal 
actor was wanting. The spectators, wearied by fruitless 
expectation, began to retire ; and here the ingenuity of 
the hoax was displayed— for when some thousands bad 
moved off, a sudden rush was made towards tbe platform* 
Those who retired instantly returned, but only to be disap- 
pointed. This ruse, strange to be said, repeatedly suc- 
ceeded ; back came the crowd, but the great Earl of Cork 
never came forth. At length and after dark all retired 
in tbe worst possible temper ; many did not reach their 
homes until after midnight, although Belem was not more 
than five miles from Lisbon, such was the throng both on 
the Tagus and along the roads. Next day all Lisbon was 
in uproar at being thus insulted by the English, who denied 
all knowledge of tbe aflair ; and in reply to a remonstrance 
made by the Portuguese Government on the subject to the 
English authorities, it was asked rather acrimoniously how 
such an absurd article bad been permitted to appear in tbe 


public prints when the censorship of the press was entirely 
in the hands of the Portuguese Government. This was 
rather a poser, and the afiair died away in languid laughter. 
The time having arrived for the prince's departure for 
England, Captain Percy, in whose ship he was to proceed, 
mentioned to me that he had some hope of procuring an 
exchange between the prince and his father, Lord Beverley, 
who was detained in France ; requesting also that I would 
ascertain from the prince what he wished put on board for 
his little comforts. The prince in reply commissioned me 
to tell Captain Percy that as to the exchange he felt fully 
persuaded that Napoleon, although the uncle of his wife 
the duchess, would never consent to the exchange ; that 
as to his comforts on board he felt extremely obliged to 
Captain Percy for his polite and kind attention, and the 
only thing he requested was a little old rum. I delivered 
his message, but told him that it was scarcely necessary, 
for there was always sufficient rum on board a man-of-war. 
On parting, he told me that whenever I should come to 
Brussels 1 should have no formal invitation to his father's 
palace ; I should live there and invite whom I pleased, 
for I must consider myself as a master in the house. How 
I treated him while we lived together as prisoner and 
guard may be seen in a letter which I had the honour 
of receiving some years afterwards from his late Royal 
Highness the Duke of Kent. 

It was at my option to accompany the prince to England ; 
1 was strongly recommended to do so, and the prince warmly 
urged me to the same effect. The bait was tempting ; 
but although better success would undoubtedly have attended 
a campaign in the luxurious Green Park, surrounded by 
magnificent mansions, traversed by splendid equipages, 
studded with groups of noble courtiers and glittering 


flatterers, yet I preferred the uncompromising discharge 
of my duty and the wild scenery and extensive plains 
of Spain, in company with my gallant companions of the 
war, whose hearts were open as the boundless tracts they 
traversed, their friendship fervid as the genial sun which 
glowed over their heads, and their sincerity pure and 
unsullied as the mountain breezes they inhaled. All this 
was good enough for me. 



f~\^ the departure of the prince I immediately joined 
^-^ my regiment at Albuquerque. On my arrival I had 
the honour of dining with General Hill. He congratulated 
me on my good fortune in carrying the prince safely to 
Lisbon, remarking that had I not been able to harangue 
the peasantry in their native language, sixty soldiers 
instead of six would scarcely have been a sufficient guard. 
The general had heard from several Spanish officers of 
the difficulty and danger which I had encountered. He 
then congratulated me on the certainty of my immediate 
promotion ; was pleased to say that I should soon reap 
the reward which I so well merited, and then handed me 
the following letter, which he requested me to keep by me : — 

"Gallegos: January \6th, 1812. 
"Sir, — I am directed to transmit to you the annexed extract 
of a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Torrens, in reply to your 
recommendation in favour of Lieutenant Blakeney. 

" The Commander-in-Chief will take an early opportunity of 
recommending Lieutenant Blakeney for promotion. 

*' I have the honour to be, etc., 
"FiTZROY Somerset, 

*^ Military Secretary. 
" Lieutenant-Genbral Hill." 

Towards the latter end of February my name appeared 
in the Gazette^ promoted to a company in the 36th Regiment, 



dated January 16th, 1812. After endeavouring in vain 
to accomplish an exchange back into my old corps, I 
forwarded a memorial to the Duke of Wellington applying 
for permission to join the 1st Battalion 36th Eegiment, 
then in the Peninsula. His Grace answered that he could 
not interfere with the appointment of an officer from one 
battalion to another ; that being promoted I must join 
the 2nd battalion, to which I properly belonged ; and 
that I must therefore proceed to England and report my 
arrival to the adjutant-general. A copy of this answer 
was forwarded from headquarters to the officer commanding 
the 1st Battalion 36th Eegiment, then at Almendralejo. 
It was matter of surprise to many that whilst hundreds 
of officers were vainly applying for leave to go to England, 
I could not procure leave to keep from it; but such, no 
doubt, were the arrangements between the Horse Guards 
and the army in the Peninsula. 

In the beginning of March General Hill moved upon 
Merida, endeavouring to surprise a detachment of the 
enemy there stationed. He approached within a short 
distance without being discovered ; but an advanced guard 
being at length perceived, the enemy hastily evacuated the 
town. As we neared the place we saw their rearguard of 
cavalry crossing the bridge. Our cavalry and light artillery 
had previously forded the Guadiana, and it was confidently 
expected would soon come up with the retiring foe. No 
longer doing duty with the 28th Eegiment, I rode over the 
bridge as the German dragoons were closely pressing on 
the enemy's rear, passing by their flank. I soon came in 
view of their main body. They proceeded hesitatingly, 
having no doubt been informed by their patrols that our 
cavalry had already forded the Guadiana. They halted on 
a conical hill, or rather rising mound, which they occupied 


from its base to its summit, apparently expecting to be 

charged. I immediately wheeled round and returning at 

full speed informed General Hill of what I had seen. The 

general, whose coolness was never more apparent than 

when the full energy of the mind was called into action, 

replied in his usual placid manner : " Very well ; we shall 

soon be with them. Gallop over the bridge again and tell 

General Long to keep closer to the wood." Instantly 

setting off I soon recrossed the bridge, at the far end of 

which I met Lord Charles Fitzroy returning after having 

delivered a similar message. The cavalry general's reply 

was that he wished to keep clear of the skirts of the wood, 

when one of us remarked that the wood must have skirts 

more extensive than a dragoon's cloak to keep them at 

such a distance. The enemy, perceiving how far they 

kept away, descended from the mound on which they had 

expected to be charged, and rapidly pushed forward without 

any molestation ; for as our dragoons moved they still more 

deviated from the enemy's line of march, and seemed to be 

en route for Badajoz. Had our cavalry closed upon the 

wood and even menaced a charge, the progress of the enemy 

would have been impeded ; but had our cavalry and light 

guns, by which they were accompanied, pushed forward 

rapidly, which they could have done since the plain was flat 

and level, and headed the enemy, they would have kept them 

until our infantry came up. But nothing of the kind was 

attempted, and so every French soldier escaped, though 

every one ought to have been made prisoner, and this 

affair of Merida would have been more complete than even 

that of Arroyo Molinos ; for when I reported the position 

of the enemy to General Hill, they were not more than two 

miles distant from our advanced guard. This affair caused 

an era in the life of General Hill ; for I heard many of his 



oldest acquaintances remark that before the evening of 
this day they never saw a cloud upon his brow. 

All hopes of being permitted to remain in the Peninsula 
having vanished, I resolved to return to England. With 
heavy heart I parted from the regiment in which I first drew 
my sword, in which my earliest friendships were formed and 
my mind modelled as a soldier. In Colonel Abercrombie's 
quarters at Merida many of the officers were assembled. 
Sorrowful, I bade adieu to my gallant old comrades, and 
quaifed a goblet to their future success whilst I clasped the 
colours to my breast — those colours which alone throughout 
the British army proudly display the names of the two 
bloodiest fought battles in the Peninsula, Barossa and 
Albuera ; and in each of these battles the regiment claimed 
a double share of the glory. At Barossa, while Colonel 
Belson at the head of the 1st Battalion charged and turned 
the chosen grenadiers forming the right of the enemy's line. 
Colonel Browne of the regiment, at the head of their flank 
companies, united with those of two other corps, commanded 
the independent flank battalion ; and this battalion, the first 
in the battle and alone, suffered more casualties both in 
officers and men (I allude particularly to the flankers of 
the 28th Regiment) than triple that sustained by any 
other battalion present in that memorable fight. At 
Albuera the 2nd Battalion of the regiment were led by 
a gallant officer. Colonel Patterson ; and the brigade in 
which they served, that which with the brigade of the 
gallant Fusiliers turned the wavering fortunes of the day, 
were commanded by the gallant Abercrombie, the second 
lieutenant-colonel of the regiment. 

Next morning at parting the light bobs gave me a cheer. 
I distinguished among them some few of the old ventrilo- 
quists of Galicia ; but on this occasion their notes were, 1 


believe, genuine. I bade a mournful farewell to the old 
Slashers, and bent my steps towards Badajoz, then about 
to be besieged. The next evening (March 15th) I came 
before the place ; and very opportunely Lieutenant 
Huddleston of the 28th Regiment, my brother officer in 
the battalion company which I commanded for a short 
time, arrived on the same day, being appointed to serve 
in the Engineer department. He willingly shared his 
tent with me ; and Sir Frederick Slavin, also of the 28th 
Regiment, then adjutant-general of the 3rd Division, intro- 
duced me to General Picton, who did me the honour of 
saying that I should always find a cover at his table during 
my stay before Badajoz. General Bowes, with whom I had 
the pleasure of being acquainted at Gibraltar, gave me a 
similar invitation. Thus, finding myself comparatively at 
home, I felt in no way inclined to proceed too quickly to 

During the siege I assisted generally in the trenches. 
On March 16th everything was finally arranged, and on 
the following evening the different divisions and regiments 
prepared to occupy their respective posts. All the troops 
being assembled, generals and commanding officers in- 
spected their brigades and regiments in review order. 
The parade was magnificent and imposing. The colours 
of each regiment proudly, though scantily, floated in the 
breeze ; they displayed but very little embroidery. Scarcely 
could the well-earned badges of the regiments be discerned ; 
yet their lacerated condition, caused by the numberless 
wounds which they received in battle, gave martial dignity 
to their appearance and animated every British breast 
with national pride. The review being terminated, a 
signal was given for each corps to proceed to that spot of 
ground which they were destined to open. The whole moved 


off. All the bands by one accord played the same tune, 
which was cheered with shouts that bore ominous import 
and appeared to shake Badajoz to its foundation. The 
music played was the animating national Irish air, St. 
Patrick's Day, when the shamrock was proudly clustered 
with the laurel ; and indeed, though these two shrubs are 
not reckoned of the same family by proud collectors in 
the Cabinet, veterans hold them to be closely allied in 
the field. Never was St. Patrick's day more loudly 
cheered or by stouter hearts, and never was the music 
more nobly accompanied nor with more warlike bass ; for 
all the troops echoed the inspiring national air as proudly 
they marched to their ground. Phillipon maintained an 
incessant fire of cannon, roared forth in proud defiance 
from the destined fortress ; and Badajoz being now 
invested on both sides of the Guadiana, the operations of 
the siege were eagerly pressed forward. 

On the 19th, during the completion of the 1st parallel, 
a sortie was made by the besieged soon after mid-day. 
Fifteen hundred of their infantry, screened by the ravelin 
San Roque, formed between that opening and the Picurina 
or small redoubt. They immediately pressed forward and 
gained the works before our men could seize their arms, 
while at the same time a party of cavalry, about fifty, the 
only horsemen in the fortress, got in rear of the parallel. 
The confnsion was great at the first onset. Those on guard 
and the working men were driven out of the trenches, and 
the cavalry sabred many in the dep6ts at the rear ; but the 
mischief being quickly discovered was soon remedied. 
The Guards being reinforced immediately rallied and drove 
the enemy out of the works at the point of the bayonet, 
when many lives were lost. A part of the embankment 
was thrown into the trenches, and the enemy carried away 


almost all the entrenching tools found in the parallel. 
We lost one hundred and fifty men in killed and wounded 
during this attack. 

The siege was now carried on without interruption, 
nothwithstanding the severity of the weather, which 
frequently filled the trenches with water ; and so great 
was the fall of rain on the 22nd that the pontoon bridge 
was carried away by the Guadiana overflowing its banks, 
and the flying bridges over that river could scarcely be 
worked. This threatened a failure of the siege, from 
the difficulty of supplying the troops with provisions and 
the impossibility of bringing the guns and ammunition 
across. Fortunately for the attack of the fortress how- 
ever the disaster was remedied by the river falling within 
its banks. 

The morning of the 25th was ushered in by saluting 
the garrison with twenty-eight pieces of cannon, opened 
from six different batteries ; and in the evening Fort 
Picurina was stormed, gallantly carried and permanently 
retained. The enemy made a sortie on the night of the 
29th, on the right bank of the Guadiana against General 
Hamilton's division, who invested the fortress on that 
side ; they were driven back with loss, and on this occasion 
the besiegers had no casualties. 

On the last day of March twenty-six pieces of ordnance 
from the 2nd Parallel opened their fire against Fort 
Trinidad and the flank of the protecting bastion, Santa 
Maria. This fire continued incessantly, aided by an 
additional battery of six guns, which also opened from 
the 2nd Parallel on the morning of April 4th against 
the ravelin of San Roque. On the evening of the 5th 
Trinidad, Santa Maria and the ravelin of San Roque were 


Preparations were made to storm the town that night ; 
but reports having been made by the engineers that strong 
works had been erected for the defence of the two breaches, 
particularly in rear of the large one made in the face of 
the bastion of Trinidad, where deep retrenchments had 
been constructed and every means resorted to which art 
and science could devise to prevent an entrance, the attack 
was therefore put off. Many hundred lives were spared, 
but for twenty-four hours only. All the guns in the 
2nd Parallel were now directed against the curtain of 
Trinidad ; and towards the following evening a third breach 
appeared ; and the storming of Badajoz was arranged 
in the following order for the night of the 6th. The 4th 
division under command of Major-General the Honourable 
C. Colville, and the light division under Lieutenant-Colonel 
Barnard, were destined to attack the three breaches opened 
in the bastion of Trinidad, Santa Maria and the connecting 
curtain. Lieutenant-General Picton, with the 3rd or 
fighting division, was directed to attack the castle, which, 
from the great height of its walls and no breach having 
been attempted there, the enemy considered secure against 
assault. The ground left vacant by the advance of the 
4th and light divisions was to be occupied by the 5th 
division, commanded by General Leith, with instructions 
to detach his left brigade, under General Walker, to make 
a false attack against the works of the fortress near the 
Guadiana, as also against the detached work the Pardaleras. 
Brigadier-General Power, commanding a Portuguese 
brigade on the opposite bank, was ordered to divert by 
making false attacks upon a newly formed redoubt called 
Mon Coeur, upon Fort St. Cristoval, upon the Ute du porvt 
and upon I forget what else. With these instructions 
the troops moved forward from the entrenchments about 


ten o'clock at night to attack the destined town. The 
3rd Division, under Picton, preceded the general movement 
about a quarter of an hour for the purpose of drawing 
away the enemy's attention from the openings in the wall, 
since these were considered the only really vulnerable 
points of the fortress. The 4th and light divisions pushed 
gallantly forward against these breaches, and were not 
discovered until they had entered the ditch. During their 
advance the town was liberally supplied with shells from 
our batteries, and the upper parts of the breaches were 
continually fired upon by light troops placed upon the 
glacis to disperse the enemy and prevent their repairing 
the broken defences. This fire was but slightly answered, 
until the two divisions mentioned were discovered entering 
the ditch, when they were assailed by an awful cannonade, 
accompanied by the sharp and incessant chattering of 
musketry. Fireballs were shot forth from the fortress, 
which illumined the surrounding space and discovered 
every subsequent movement. 

The dreadful strife now commenced. The thundering 
cheer of the British soldiers as they rushed forward through 
the outer ditch, together with the appalling roar of all 
arms sent forth in defiance from within, was tremendous. 
Whenever an instant pause occurred it was filled by the 
heartrending shrieks of the trodden-down wounded and 
by the lengthened groans of the dying. Three times were 
the breaches cleared of Frenchmen, driven off at the point 
of the bayonet by gallant British soldiers to the very 
summit, when they were by the no less gallant foe each 
time driven back, leaving their bravest officers and fore- 
most soldiers behind, who, whether killed or wounded, 
were tossed down headlong to the foot of the breaches. 
Throughout this dreadful conflict our bugles were con- 


tinually sounding the advance. The cry of " Bravo ! 
bravo!" resounded through the ditches and along the 
foot of the breaches ; but no British cry was heard from 
within the walls of Badajoz save that of despair, uttered 
by the bravest, who despite of all obstacles forced their 
way into the body of the place, and there through dire 
necessity abandoned, groaned forth their last stabbed by 
unnumbered wounds. Again and again were the breaches 
attacked with redoubled fary and defended with equal 
pertinacity and stern resolution, seconded by every resource 
which science could adopt or ingenuity suggest. Bags 
and barrels of gunpowder with short fuses were rolled 
down, which, bursting at the bottom or along the face of 
the breaches, destroyed all who advanced. Thousands of 
live shells, hand-grenades, fireballs and every species of 
destructive combustible were thrown down the breaches 
and over the walls into the ditches, which, lighting and 
exploding at the same instant, rivalled the lightning and 
thunder of heaven. This at intervals was succeeded by an 
impenetrable darkness as of the infernal regions. Gallant 
foes laughing at death met, fought, bled and rolled upon 
earth ; and from the very earth destruction burst, for the 
exploding mines cast up friends and foes together, who in 
burning torture clashed and shrieked in the air. Partly 
burned they fell back into the inundating water, continually 
lighted by the incessant bursting of shells. Thus assailed 
by opposing elements, they made the horrid scene yet more 
horrid by shrieks uttered in wild despair, vainly struggling 
against a watery grave with limbs convulsed and quivering 
from the consuming fire. The roaring of cannon, the 
bursting of shells, the rattle of musketry, the awful 
explosion of mines and the flaring sickly blaze of fireballs 
seemed not of human invention, but rather as if all the 


elements of nature had greedily combined in the general 
havoc, and heaven, earth and hell had united for the 
destruction alike of devoted Badajoz and of its furious 

In consequence of untoward disasters, which occurred at 
the very onset by the troops being falsely led, their numbers 
were seriously diminished and their compact formation 
disorganised. The third or last opening in the curtain was 
never attempted, although this breach was the most prac- 
ticable, as it had been made only a few hours before, and 
thus there had been no time to strengthen its defences. 
Owing to this ruinous mistake, the harassed and depressed 
troops failed in their repeated attacks. 



A T length the bugles of the 4th and light divisions 
-^^^ sounded the recall. At this moment General Bowes, 
whom I accompanied in the early part of the fight, being 
severely wounded, and his aide-de-camp, my old comrade 
and brother officer Captain Johnson, 28th Regiment, being 
killed, as I had no duty to perform (my regiment not 
being present), I attended the general as he was borne to 
his tent. He enquired anxiously about poor Johnson, his 
relative, not being aware that this gallant officer received 
his death-shot while he was being carried to the rear in 
consequence of a wound which he had received when 
cheering on a column to one of the breaches. 

Having seen the general safely lodged, I galloped off 
to where Lord Wellington had taken his station. This 
was easily discerned by means of two fireballs shot out 
from the fortress at the commencement of the attack, 
which continued to burn brilliantly along the water-cut 
which divided the 3rd from the other divisions. Near 
the end of this channel, behind a rising mound, were Lord 
Wellington and his personal staff, screened from the 
enemy's direct fire, but within range of shells. One of 
his staff sat down by his side with a candle to enable the 
general to read and write all his communications and 
orders relative to the passing events. I stood not far 



from his lordship. But due respect prevented any of us 
bystanders from approaching so near as to enable us to 
ascertain the import of the reports which he was continu- 
ally receiving ; yet it was very evident that the information 
which they conveyed was far from flattering ; and the recall 
on the bugles was again and again repeated. But about 
half-past eleven o'clock an officer rode up at full speed on 
a horse covered with foam, and announced the joyful tidings 
that General Picton had made a lodgment within the 
castle by escalade, and had withdrawn the troops from the 
trenches to enablie him to maintain his dearly purchased 
hold. Lord Wellington was evidently delighted, but 
exclaimed, " What ! abandon the trenches ? " and ordered 
two regiments of the 5th Division instantly to replace 
those withdrawn. I waited to hear no more, but, admiring 
the prompt genius which immediately provided for every 
contingency, I mounted my horse. I was immediately 
surrounded by a host of Spaniards, thousands of whom, 
of all ages and sexes, had been collecting at this point 
for some time from the neighbouring towns and villages 
to witness the storming and enjoy the brilliant spectacle, 
wherein thousands of men, women and children, in- 
cluding those of their own country, were to be shot, 
bayoneted or blown to atoms. Notwithstanding the 
hundreds of beautiful females who closely pressed round 
and even clung to me for information, I merely exclaimed 
in a loud voice that Badajoz was taken and then made the 
best of my way to the walls of the castle ; their height 
was rather forbidding, and an enfilading fire still continued. 
The ladders were warm and slippery with blood and brains 
of many a gallant soldier, who but a few moments pre- 
viously mounted them with undaunted pride, to be dashed 
down from their top and lie broken in death at their foot. 

4268 AT BADAJOZ. [Ch. 

As soon as General Picton bad arrived at the walls lie 
instantly ordered them to be escaladed, frightful as was 
their height. Ladder after ladder failed to be placed 
^.gainst the walls, their determined bearers being killed. 
But Picton, who never did anything by halves or hesita- 
tingly, instead of parsimoniously sending small parties 
forward and waiting to hear of their extinction before 
fresh support was furnished, boldly marched his whole 
division to the foot of the walls ; and thus, without loss 
of time, by immediately supplying the place of the fallen, 
he at length succeeded in rearing one ladder. Then having 
his reserves close at hand, scarcely was a man shot off 
when an equally brave successor filled his place ; and in 
this manner those who mounted that one ladder at length 
made a lodgment. This being firmly established, the fire 
from within slackened ; many ladders were soon reared 
and the whole of the 3rd Division entered the castle. 
The Connaught Rangers were said to be the first within the 
wall. In consequence of some misconduct. General Picton 
had changed the name " Rangers " to "Robbers." After 
the storming of the castle a private of the corps called 
out half-drunken to the general, '' Are we the ' Connaught 
Robbers ' now ? " " No," answered Picton ; " you are 
the ^Connaught Heroes.'" 

The confusion in the castle was awful all night long. 
All the gates had been built up but one, and that narrowed 
to the width of two men. On this straight gate a terrible 
fire was directed from outside and in. The 3rd Division 
first fired on the French and, when they had gone, 
continued to fire on their own comrades of the 5th Division, 
who had entered the town on the opposite side by escalading 
the bastion of San Vincente. This capture was opposed as 
fiercely and made as bravely as that of the castle. The 


3rd Division having taken the castle about half-past eleven^ 
Picton received orders to maintain it nntil break of 
day, when he was to sally forth with two thousand men 
and fall on the rear of the breaches, which it was intended 
should again be attacked by the 4th and light Divisions. 
The party who carried the ladders of the 5th Divisioa 
lost their way and did not come up until after eleven 
o'clock, which necessarily made General Leith an hour late 
in his attack on the bastion of San Vincente, so that before- 
he entered the town the castle was in possession of the 
3rd Division. The enemy who defended the breaches, 
being no longer attacked in front, turned all their force 
against the 5th Division as they advanced from their captured 
bastion along the ramparts. As soon as General Walker's- 
brigade of this division gained the interior of the fortress, 
they moved forward along the ramparts, driving everything 
before them until they arrived not far from the breach 
in the Santa Maria bastion ; here the enemy had a gun 
placed, and as the British troops advanced a French gunner- 
lit a port fire. Startled at the sudden and unexpected 
light, some of the foremost British soldiers cried out,. 
" A mine, a mine ! " These words passing to the rear, the 
whole of the troops fell into disorder, and such was the- 
panic caused by this ridiculous mistake that the brave- 
example and utmost exertions of the officers could not 
prevail upon the men to advance. The enemy, perceiving 
the hesitation, pushed boldly forward to the charge, and 
drove the British back to the bastion of San Vincente, where 
they had entered. Here a battalion in reserve had been 
formed, who, in their turn rushing forward to the charge, 
bayoneted or made prisoner every Frenchman they met,, 
pursuing those who turned as far as the breaches. The^ 
3rd and 5th Divisions interchanged many shots, eack 

270 AT BADAJOZ. [Ch. 

ignorant of the other's success and consequent position ; 
and both divisions continued to fire at the breaches, so 
that had the 4th and light divisions made another attack 
many must have fallen by the fire of both divisions of their 

From both within and without, as has been said, a 
constant fire was kept up at the narrow and only entrance 
to the castle. This entrance was defended by a massive 
door, nearly two feet thick, which was riddled throughout ; 
and had the 3rd Division sallied forth during the confusion 
and darkness, they must have come in contact with the 
5th Division, when no doubt many more lives would 
have been lost before they recognised each other. This 
was fortunately prevented by Picton being ordered to 
remain in the castle until morning. 

The scenes in the castle that night were of a most deplor- 
able and terrific nature : murders, robberies and every 
species of debauchery and obscenity were seen, notwithstand- 
ing the exertions of the officers to prevent them. Phillipon 
expecting that, even though he should lose the town, he 
would be able to retain the castle at least for some days, 
had had all the live cattle of the garrison driven in there. 
The howling of dogs, the crowing of cocks, the penetrating 
cackle of thousands of geese, the mournful bleating of 
sheep, the furious bellowing of wounded oxen maddened 
by being continually goaded and shot at and ferociously 
charging through the streets, were mixed with accompani- 
ments loudly trumpeted forth by mules and donkeys and 
always by the deep and hollow baying of the large 
Spanish half-wolves, half-bloodhounds which guarded the 
whole. Add to this the shrill screaming of afi'righted 
children, the piercing shrieks of frantic women, the groans 
of the wounded, the savage and discordant yells of 


drunkards firing at everything and in all directions, and 
the continued roll of musketry kept up in error on the 
shattered gateway ; and you may imagine an uproar such 
as one would think could issue only from the regions of 
Pluto ; and this din was maintained throughout the night. 

Towards morning the firing ceased ; and the 4th and 
light divisions passed through the breaches over the 
broken limbs and dead bodies of their gallant comrades. 
A great part of the garrison were made prisoners during 
the night by the 5th Division ; but Phillipon, with most 
of the officers and a portion of the men, retreated across 
the Guadiana into Fort Cristoval. He demanded terms 
of capitulation next morning ; but Lord Wellington gave 
him ten minutes to consider and straightway prepared 
the guns to batter the place. However, that was prevented 
by Phillipon surrendering at discretion. 

As soon as light served and communication between 
the castle and the town opened, I bent my way along 
the ramparts towards the main opening in the Trinidad 
bastion. The glorious dawn of day, contrasted with the 
horrible scenes which I had witnessed, filled the mind 
with joy. The sun rose in majesty and splendour, as 
usual in the blooming month of April, which in that 
climate is as our May. The country around was clothed 
in luxuriant verdure, refreshed by recent dew, which still 
clinging to each green leaf and blade in diamond drops 
reflected the verdant hue of the foliage upon which it hung 
till diamonds seemed emeralds. A thousand nameless 
flowers, displaying as many lovely colours, were on all 
the earth. Proudly and silently the Guadiana flowed, 
exhibiting its white surface to the majestically rising orb 
which gave to the ample and gently heaving breast of 
the noble stream the appearance of an undulating plain of 

272 AT BADAJOZ. [Ch. 

burnished silver. On its fertile banks the forward harvest 
already promised abundance and contentment even to the 
most avaricious husbandman. The fruit trees opened their 
rich and perfumed blossoms ; the burnished orange borrow- 
ing colour of the sun glowed in contrast with the more 
delicate gold of lemon ; and everywhere grey olive trees 
spread ample boughs — but here, alas ! they were not the 
emblems of peace. Every creeping bramble and humble 
shrub made a fair show that morning ; birds sang in 
heaven ; all sensitive and animated nature appeared gay 
and seemed with grateful acknowledgments to welcome the 
glorious father of light and heat. The lord of creation 
alone, " sensible and refined man," turned his back on 
the celestial scene to gloat in the savage murders and 
degrading obscenity that wantoned in devoted Badajoz. 

When I arrived at the great breach the inundation pre- 
sented an awful contrast to the silvery Guadiana ; it was 
fairly stained with gore, which through the vivid reflection 
of the brilliant sun, whose glowing heat already drew the 
watery vapours from its surface, gave it the appearance 
of a fiery lake of smoking blood, in which were seen the 
bodies of many a gallant British soldier. The ditches were 
strewn with killed and wounded ; but the approach to the 
bottom of the main breach was fairly choked with dead. 
A row of cJiB^aux de /rise, armed with sword-blades, 
barred the entrance at the top of the breach and so firmly 
fixed that when the 4th and light Divisions marched 
through, the greatest exertion was required to make a 
sufficient opening for their admittance. Boards fastened 
with ropes to plugs driven into the ground within the 
ramparts were let down, and covered nearly the whole 
surface of the breach ; these boards were so thickly studded 
withs harp pointed spikes that one could not introduce a 


hand between them ; they did not stick out at right angles 
to the board, but were all slanting upwards. In rear of 
the chevaux de /rise the ramparts had deep cuts in all 
directions, like a tanyard, so that it required light to enable 
one to move safely through them, even were there no 
opposing enemy. From the number of muskets found 
close behind the breach, all the men who could possibly 
be brought together in so small a place must have had 
at least twenty firelocks each, no doubt kept continually 
loaded by persons in the rear. Two British soldiers only 
entered the main breach during the assault ; I saw both 
their bodies. If any others entered they must have been 
thrown back over the walls, for certain it is that at dawn 
of the 7th no more than two British bodies were within 
the walls near the main breach. In the Santa Maria 
breach not one had entered. At the foot of this breach 
the same sickening sight appeared as at that of Trinidad : 
numberless dead strewed the place. On looking down 
these breaches I recognised many old friends, whose society 
I had enjoyed a few hours before, now lying stiff in death. 
Oppressed by the sight which the dead and dying pre- 
sented at the breaches, I turned away and re-entered the 
town ; but oh ! what scenes of horror did I witness there ! 
They can never be effaced from my memory. There was 
no safety for women even in the churches ; and any who 
interfered or offered resistance were sure to get shot. Every 
house presented a scene of plunder, debauchery and blood- 
shed, committed with wanton cruelty on the persons of 
the defenceless inhabitants by our soldiery ; and in many 
instances I beheld the savages tear the rings from the 
ears of beautiful women who were their victims, and when 
the rings could not be immediately removed from their 
fingers with the hand, they tore them off with their teeth. 


274 AT BADAJOZ. [Ch. 

Firing through the streets and at the windows was in- 
cessant, which made it excessively dangerous to move out. 
When the savages came to a door which had been locked 
or barricaded, they applied what they called the patent 
key : this consisted of the muzzles of a dozen firelocks 
placed close together against that part of the door where 
the lock was fastened, and the whole fired oif together into 
the house and rooms, regardless of those inside; these 
salvos were repeated until the doors were shattered, and in 
this way too several inhabitants were killed. Men, women 
and children were shot in the streets for no other apparent 
reason than pastime ; every species of outrage was publicly 
committed in the houses, churches and streets, and in a 
manner so brutal that a faithful recital would be too indecent 
and too shocking to humanity. Not the slightest shadow 
of order or discipline was maintained ; the officers durst 
not interfere. The infuriated soldiery resembled rather a 
pack of hell-hounds vomited up from the infernal regions 
for the extirpation of mankind than what they were but 
twelve short hours previously— a well-organised, brave, 
disciplined and obedient British army, and burning only 
with impatience for what is called glory. 

But whatever accounts may be given of the horrors 
which attended and immediately followed the storming of 
Badajoz, they must fall far short of the truth ; and it is 
impossible for any who were not present to imagine them. 
I have already mentioned that neither the regiment to 
which I was just appointed nor that which I had just left 
was at the siege. I therefore could have had but little 
influence in controlling the frenzied military mob who 
were ferociously employed in indiscriminate carnage, uni- 
versal plunder and devastation of every kind. Three 
times I narrowly escaped with life for endeavouring to 


protect some women by conveying them to St. John's 
Church, where a guard was mounted. On one occasion, as 
Huddleston and I accompanied two ladies and the brother 
of one of them to the church mentioned, we were crossed 
by three drunken soldiers, one of whom, passing to our 
rear, struck the Spanish gentleman with the butt-end of 
his firelock on the back of his head, which nearly knocked 
him down. On my censuring the fellow's daring insolence 
in striking a person in company with two English oJficers, 
another of the men was bringing his firelock to the 
present, when I holloaed out loudly, " Come on quick with 
that guard." There was no guard near, but the ruse 
luckily succeeded, and so quickly did the soldiers run 
away that I felt convinced that their apparent intoxication 
was feigned. On another occasion a sergeant struck me 
with his pike for refusing to join in plundering a family ; 
I certainly snapped my pistol in his face, but fortunately 
it missed fire or he would have been killed. However 
the danger which he so narrowly escaped brought him to 
his senses ; he made an awkward apology and I considered 
it prudent to retire. By such means as these, by the risk 
and humanity of officers, many women were saved. We 
did not interfere with the plundering ; it would have been 

One circumstance, being of a very peculiar nature, I shall 
relate. During the morning of the 7th, while the excesses, 
of which I have given but a faint idea, were at their height, 
Huddleston came running to me and requested that I would 
accompany him to a house whence he had just fled. The 
owner was an old acquaintance of all the officers of the 
28th Regiment, when a few months previously we were 
quartered at Albuquerque, where he lived at the time. 
Huddleston conducted me to the bedroom of this man's 


wife. When we entered, a woman who lay upon a 
bed uttered a wild cry, which might be considered as 
caused either by hope or despair. Here were two British 
soldiers stretched on the floor, and so intoxicated that when 
Huddles ton and I drew them out of the room by the heels 
they appeared insensible of the motion. The master of 
the house sat in a corner of the room in seeming apathy ; 
upon recognising me he exclaimed, with a vacant stare, 
" And why this, Don Roberto ? " Having somewhat 
recovered from his stupor, he told me that the woman on 
the bed was his wife, who was in momentary expectation 
of her accouchement. In my life I never saw horror and 
despair so strongly depicted as upon the countenances of 
this unfortunate couple. Several soldiers came in while 
we remained ; and our only hope of saving the unfortunate 
lady's life was by apparently joining in the plunder of the 
apartments, for any attempt at resistance would have 
been useless and would perhaps have brought on fatal 
consequences. I stood as a kind of warning sentry near 
the bedroom door, which was designedly left open ; and 
whenever any of the men approached it, I pointed 
out the female, representing her as a person dying of a 
violent fever ; and thus we succeeded in preserving her life. 
Huddleston and I then set to work most actively to break 
tables and chairs, which we strewed about the rooms and 
down the stairs. I remained for some hours, when I 
considered that all was safe ; for although many marauding 
parties had entered, yet on perceiving the ruinous appear- 
ance of the house, and considering that it must have 
already been well visited, they went off immediately in 
search of better prey. We even scattered a shopful of 
stationery and books all over the apartments, and some of 
the articles we held in our hands as if plunder, for the 


purpose of deceiving the visitors. I recollect taking np 
some coloured prints of Paul and Virginia ; these I after- 
wards presented as a trophy of war to an old friend, Mrs. 
Blakeney, of Abbert, Co. Galway, as the sole tangible 
remembrance of the storming of Badajoz. I frequently 
called at the house during the two following days and 
was happy to find that no further injuries were sufiered. 
Huddleston's servant and mine slept in the house. We 
ourselves retired to the camp as darkness approached, for 
to remain in Badajoz during the night would have been 
attended with certain danger, neither of our regiments 
being in the place. The sack continued for three days 
without intermission ; each day I witnessed its horrid and 
abominable effects. But I shrink from further description. 
On the morning of the fourth day (April 10th) the 9th 
Regiment were marched regularly into town. A gallows 
was erected in the principal square and others in different 
parts of the town. A general order was proclaimed that 
the first man detected in plundering should be executed ; 
but no execution took place. The soldiers well knew how 
far they might proceed, and no farther did they go. The 
butcheries and horrible scenes of plunder and debauchery 
ceased in Badajoz ; audit became an orderlyBritish garrison. 
During the sack the Portuguese troops plundered but 
little, for as they had not been employed in the storming 
the British soldiers would have killed them had they 
interfered with the spoil. But during the three days' transfer 
of property they lay hid close outside the town, where 
they awaited the British soldiers, who always came with 
a sheet or counterpane filled with every species of plunder, 
carried on their heads and shoulders like so many Atlases ; 
and as these always left the town drunk and lay down 
to sleep between it and the camp, the artful Portuguese 

278 AT BADAJOZ. [Ch. 

crept np and carried away everything, and thus they 
finally possessed all the plunder. I witnessed this mean 
jackal theft a hundred times ; and, without feeling the 
slightest affection for those second-hand dastard robbers, 
I enjoyed seeing the British soldiers deprived of their 
booty, acquired under circumstances too disgusting to be 
dwelt on. 

The storming of Badajoz caused a severe loss to the 
British army. The 3rd and 5th Divisions, who successfully 
escaladed the walls, lost either in killed or wounded six 
hundred men each ; and the casualties suffered by the 
4th and light Divisions amounted to upwards of ^ve 
hundred more than the loss of the successful escalading 

The great loss caused in the ranks of those who attacked 
the breaches was due to their having been erroneously 
led on to an unfinished ravelin, constructed in front of 
the centre breach, that of Trinidad. This work had been 
a good deal raised during the siege, and being mistaken 
for a breach, which in its unfinished state it much resembled, 
the 4th Division gallantly mounted and soon reached the 
top. Here they were severely galled by a destructive fire 
from the whole front ; a deep precipice and wet ditch 
intervened between the ravelin and the breaches. Astonished 
and dismayed the men began to return the enemy's fire^ 
At this critical moment the light division, who had been 
led as much too far to their right as the 4th Division had 
been to their left, came up ; and unfortunately they also 
mounted the fatal deceptive ravelin. All was now confusion 
and dreadful carnage was passively suffered by those 
devoted troops. The officers, having at length discovered 
the mistake, hurried down the ravelin and gallantly showed 
the example of mounting the Trinidad and Santa Maria 


breaches, followed by tlie bravest of the men ; but the 
formation as an organised body being broken, only the 
excessively brave followed the officers. On arriving at 
the top of the breaches, which were stoutly defended, so 
weak a force were consequently hurled down to destruction. 
The utmost disorder followed. Thus the attacks on the 
three breaches, where alone Badajoz was considered 
vulnerable, all failed of success ; while those defences 
which both by the besiegers and besieged were deemed 
almost impregnable, were gallantly forced. Such are the 
vicissitudes of war, especially in night attacks. At dawn 
on the 7th there was no dead body near the last made 
and most vulnerable breach — a proof that by error it was 
never attacked. 

Immediately after the fall of Badajoz the chief part 
of the army moved towards the north of Portugal, where 
Marmont had collected his corps. However, all his exploits 
consisted in a distant blockade of Ciudad Rodrigo and 
some romantic attempts against the fortress of Almeida. 
Failing in his attempts against those two places, he marched 
upon Castello Branco, threatening to destroy the Bridge 
of Boats at Villavelha ; but on the advance of Lord 
Wellington to attack him he retired out of Portugal and 
thus terminated his inglorious incursion. 

Fortunately for the operations carried on against Badajoz, 
Marmont's jealousy of Soult was such that he ignored all 
his remonstrances and did not unite with him ; he continued 
obstinate and Badajoz fell. 

Marshal Soult arrived with his army at Llerena on April 
3rd, and on the 4th Lord Wellington made arrangements 
to receive him. His plan was to leave ten thousand men 
in the trenches and fight the marshal with the re- 
mainder of his army ; but Soult, either feeling diffident 


of his strength or still in the hope that Marmont would 
bend his course southerly, arrived at Villa Franca, but 
thirty miles from Llerena and the same distance from 
Badajoz, only on the 7th, thus taking four days to march 
thirty miles in haste to relieve a beleaguered fortress. On 
his arrival at Villa Franca on the 7th, he was informed 
that Badajoz had fallen that morning, or rather the night 
before, and that Phillipon had surrendered at discretion. 
He then, like Marmont, retired and moved into Andalusia. 



A LL tlie troops, except those left to repair and garrison 
-^^ Badajoz, having moved oiF, I proceeded immediately 
to Lisbon. Here I remained as short a time as possible, not 
from over anxiety to see England, but because, although I 
had the horrors of the sacking of Badajoz in painful recollec- 
tion, I felt greater horror at the idea that I might be taken 
for a Belemite. During the splendid campaigns which 
took place in the Peninsula from 1808 to 1813 many British 
officers were collected at Belem, and with peculiar tact so 
contrived as always to remain in the rear of the army. 
Some were unwillingly kept back from debility of con- 
stitution or through wounds, but a large majority were 
inflicted with a disease which, baffling the skill of learned 
doctors, loudly called for a remedy far different from that 
of medical treatment. This patrician band, amounting to 
the incredible number of upwards of a thousand, were 
formed into an inefficient depot at Belem, a suburb of 
Lisbon, distant thence about five miles. That this over 
prudent body was not exclusively composed of wounded 
will appear when it is known that the greater number of 
its members had never seen nor heard a shot fired during 
the whole of the eventful period mentioned, far more 
cautious indeed than the smooth-faced Roman patricians 



who fled from tlie slingers at Pliarsalia. This careful band 
did not venture so far even as the skirts of the fight ; and 
it might truthfully be said that the movement of the whole 
army was attended with less difficulty than the movement 
of a single Belemite to the front. The complaint or disease 
of which they complained they invariably attributed to the 
liver ; but medical men after careful analysis attributed 
it to an affection of the heart, founding their conclusions 
on the fact that whenever any of those backward patients 
came forward, the violent palpitations of that organ clearly 
proved that it was much more affected by the artificial fire 
in the field than was the liver by the physical heat of 
the sun. 

A ludicrous scene took place in Lisbon whilst I was 
there, in which one of these gentlemen of the rearguard 
made a very conspicuous, though not happy figure, and so 
caused much merriment. Prevailing upon himself to fancy 
that he was deeply in love with a young and beautiful 
Portugese lady of noble birth and ample fortune, he was 
unwearied in his addresses. These, as it would appear, 
were not disagreeable to the amiable fair ; but her parents 
entertaining quite different sentiments, used every endeavour 
to cut off all communication between the lovers. Notwith- 
standing, our hero, active and persevering in the wars of 
Venus as passive and quiescent in those of Mars, was not 
to be shaken ; and finding that his visits to the lady's 
house were no longer desired, he became incessant in his 
attendance at a post taken up opposite to a particular 
window in the rear of the mansion wherein the lady resided. 
Here a telegraphic correspondence was established between 
the lovers. This being discovered by the vigilant parents, 
means were adopted to prevent the appearance of their 
daughter at the propitious window. Finding however 


that the hero was not to be diverted from his purpose, and 
that he continued to attend every evening about dusk in 
the vicinity of the window, they determined to bring about 
by stratagem that which neither threat nor remonstrance 
could effect. 

In the meantime the champion, more of love than of 
war, relaxed not in his dusky visits, although uniformly 
disappointed. Fancy then his ecstasy one evening, after 
such continued vexations and as he was about to depart, 
at again beholding the cherished object of all his solicitude 
present herself at the accommodating window. His heart 
bounded at recognising the high bonnet with pink ribbons, 
so well remembered. Half frantic with delight he 
rapturously pressed his hands to his heart, then applying 
them to his lips shot them forward in the direction of the 
lovely fair. Here his happiness was increased tenfold at 
perceiving that his angel, who on former occasions but 
doubtingly countenanced his love, now with fervour 
apparently equal to his own repeated all his amorous 
gestures ; this he naturally attributed to pure affection, 
heightened by long separation. His amorous expressions 
also were repeated, so far as the distance which separated 
them allowed him to distinguish words, although as he 
afterwards related he fancied the intonation of the voice 
an octave higher than usual and the sudden interruptions 
rather hysterical ; but this he attributed to the flurried 
state of her mind at the moment. All tended in his 
excited imagination to show the great interest she felt at 
the interview. Urged by these sentiments, he hurried 
forward ; his charmer hurried from the window. Excited 
to the highest pitch and considering the retreat from the 
window, which was left open, rather an invitation than a 
repulse, he determined to enter ; and fortunately discovering 


a short ladder in the garden, left as he thought through 
accident or neglect, with its aid he boldly entered the room. 
The obscurity here being greater, he could barely see the 
loved object of his search quickly retire to a large arm- 
chair ; to this he promptly followed, and throwing himself 
upon his knees held forth his clasped hands in a suppli- 
cating manner, when lo and behold ! the doors were 
suddenly thrown open and a numerous concourse of ladies 
and gentlemen with lights hurried into the room before 
the lover had time to resume his upright position. Fancy 
his confusion and amazement at beholding in the first 
person who entered the object of all his affections, and his 
horror and consternation when turning round to the object 
before whom he knelt, he found his closed hands firmly 
clasped by a large Brazilian monkey I This ape was the 
particular favourite of the young lady, and on this occasion 
was dressed by order of her parents in the precise apparel 
which they had seen their daughter always wear during 
the balcony interviews. Thunderstruck and abashed as 
he regarded all the objects round and as the shrill voice 
and chirping hysterical sounds flashed on his memory now 
dreadfully explained, he fully represented wild despair 
and abject humility. Yet he still clung to the hope 
that the young lady would try to extricate him from his 
degrading dilemma, when she thus addressed him : " Ah, 
faithless wretch ! — not content with endeavouring to betray 
me alone, but also to attempt seducing the affections of 
my favourite, my darling monkey ! Begone, wretch, nor 
let me ever more behold thy odious presence I " and 
darting at him a glance of the utmost disdain she flounced 
out of the room. Now, becoming furious at his ludicrous 
situation, and scarcely knowing how to vent his rage, he 
drew forth his sword from under his cloak and in a 



menacing attitude prepared to attack the innocent object 
at whose feet he had so lately knelt, and to whom he had 
so ardently poured forth the fervency of his passion. The 
imitative animal, instantly snatching up a large fan which 
lay on the armchair and little knowing his danger, immedi- 
ately assumed a similar menacing attitude, when a loud 
cry burst forth from all, " Shame, shame, to enter the lists 
against a poor defenceless monkey ! " This was too much to 
be borne, and the beau, the dupe of stratagem, followed the 
example of the young lady by leaving the room, with this 
difference — the young lady proudly and slowly went up- 
stairs, but our hero with an entirely opposite feeling rushed 
hurriedly down. There was thought of remonstrances to 
the British authorities ; but it being ascertained that this 
tender man of war was not quartered in Lisbon, but a 
Belemite who in amorous mood strayed away from his 
tribe, no military investigation took place. However 
the affair becoming the topic of general merriment, the 
gallant gay Lothario could not endure the derision to 
which he was exposed. But what annoyed him most was 
the report that he had fought a duel with a monkey. He 
therefore determined to join the army and resigning the 
voluptuous court of Venus ranged himself at last under 
the rigid standard of Mars ; thus what the hero of the 
Peninsula failed to accomplish was brought about by a 
Brazilian baboon, the forcing of a Belemite from out his 
safehold to the field of war. 

Having remained but a very few days in Lisbon, I pro- 
ceeded to England and reporting myself at the Horse 
Guards was ordered to join the 2nd Battalion of my regiment, 
quartered at Lewes. Thence I was immediately sent on 
recruiting service; but having shortly after procured my 
recall, I applied to His Royal Highness the Duke of York 


for leave to join the 1st Battalion of the Regiment then in 
the Peninsula, although I belonged to the 2nd Battalion 
at home. His Royal Highness was pleased to grant my 
request ; this was facilitated by there being at the time 
three captains of the 1st Battalion in England. I now pro- 
ceeded to Portsmouth to procure a passage to Lisbon. 
Here I found there was but one transport ready to sail for 
the Peninsula ; this being a horse transport was filled with 
those animals and dragoon officers, to whom alone the 
cabin was dedicated. However, Colonel Sir James Douglas, 
Colonel Belnevis, Majors Leggatt and Arnot, infantry officers, 
having arrived before me at Portsmouth had contrived to 
get berths, but there was none left for me ; even the floor 
was portioned off. My application for a passage was there- 
fore negatived ; but after repeated entreaties to Captain 
Patten, Agent of Transports, he permitted me to sail in 
the vessel, with the proviso however that I should pledge 
my word of honour not to take that precedence in choice 
of berths to which my rank entitled me ; in a word, not 
to interfere with the convenience of the cavalry officers, 
who were all subalterns. From my anxiety to return to 
Spain and impatience of delay, I hesitated not a moment 
in agreeing to the proposal. 

Our voyage proceeded prosperously until we approached 
the Bay of Biscay, when entering on its skirts and in 
very rough weather we fell in with a British man-of-war. 
Perceiving us alone, she very genteelly undertook to protect 
us. In pursuance of this disinterested act she made signals 
for us to follow her movements, in obeying which we 
entered much deeper into the bay than the master of the 
transport or any other person on board could account for. 
While we were steering thus for a considerable time, 
certainly very wide of our true course, an American privateer 


with a prize in tow hove in sight, when our kind and 
voluntary protector immediately left us, making his course 
for those vessels, which on his approach separated taking 
different directions. But the British man-of-war turning 
his back on the hostile privateer, allowed her to depart 
without any molestation ; and considering perhaps that he 
best served his country in doing so cliose the prize for 
chase, by the capture of which salvage would reward his 
patriotism. The three vessels were soon out of sight. 
The man-of-war and the prize we never saw more ; but 
towards evening the privateer was again discovered bear- 
ing down upon us. Approaching within gunshot she lay 
to on our starboard bow. Having four guns aside which 
were shotted and everything ready for action, we also 
played the bravo, and reefing our mainsail also lay to. 
Colonel Douglas, as chief in command, took no particular 
station ; Colonel Belnevis, Major Leggatt and Major Arnot 
commanded the starboard guns ; the bow gun, same side, 
was allotted to me. When we had silently broadsided 
each other for some time, the privateer, seeing our vessel 
full of troops and moreover double her size, dared not 
hazard an attempt at boarding, and perceiving our four 
guns aside did not fire into us ; while we, on the other 
side, had many reasons for not wishing an action. Perceiving 
however the hesitation of the enemy, we put the best face 
on the affair and resolved stoutly to bear down direct 
upon her. On our approaching the privateer crowded all 
sail and to our infinite satisfaction bore away, repeating- 
the same signals made by our faithful commodore in 
the morning — i.e,, to follow her movements ; and this too 
with the English flag flying. To say the truth we were 
in miserable fighting trim ; for although we had four 
guns aside, we dreaded their explosion more than the shot 


from our enemy. The locks of these guns were but very 
imperfectly fastened on ; and through some extraordinary 
oversight no medical officer had been embarked. 

The wind having much increased and we being in the 
centre of the bay, the vessel rolled awfully. Water-casks, 
portmanteaus, hencoops breaking from their lashings 
fearfully traversed the decks, and obeying only the rolling 
of the vessel threatened broken limbs to all who came 
in their way. These obstacles and many others of a minor 
kind gave particular annoyance to the cavalry officers, 
who being dressed for professional fight and mostly being 
but a short time in the Service, wore -their spurs uncon- 
scionably long and consequently detrimental ; for many 
things which otherwise would have crossed the deck, 
fastened on the spurs, and their owners in the confusion 
of the moment could not account for the closeness with 
which they were charged, forgetting that their own weapons 
dragged the encumbrances after them. All things con- 
sidered, we were well pleased at not being obliged to fight ; 
our nerves could not have been doubted. The infantry, 
four field officers and one captain were veterans often 
proved in action ; and the gallantry of the dragoons could 
not for a moment be called in question, for they showed 
themselves gamecocks even to the heels. The name of 
one of these officers I mention from his peculiar and 
melancholy fate. Lieutenant Trotter, 4th Dragoon Guards. 
At the Battle of Waterloo he gallantly took a French 
dragoon officer prisoner in single combat. While conducting 
him to the rear (of course on his parole and therefore 
permitted to ride). Trotter never thought of being on his 
guard ; but the assassin, watching an opportunity when 
Trotter turned round, drew out a pistol which he had 
concealed in his breast and shot poor Trotter through 


the head. He instantly fell dead but the murderer 

When we had succeeded in lashing the water-casks, 
portmanteaus and coops, and recooping the fugitive poultry, 
and having fortunately got rid of both our foe and our 
protector, we, to make use of a military phrase, brought 
up our left shoulders to resume our proper course, from 
which we had been diverted, nay, ordered to deviate by 
the insidious interference of a man-of-war. The master 
of the transport calculated that by obeying his signals, our 
voyage was considerably prolonged. Thus was the public 
Service retarded and British troops placed in a perilous 
situation by a person whose bounden duty it was to protect 
them, yet who first led us into danger and then left us 
to our fate in a comparatively defenceless transport while 
he himself turned his back on friend and foe and went 
in search of a prize. Few such instances have occurred 
or are likely to occur, since such conduct is surely as 
repugnant to the feelings of our brave sailors as to 
our own. 

During the rest of our voyage we met with no further 
adventure. After our encounter I told Colonel Douglas 
that having been now called upon duty I was entitled to 
a choice of berths according to my rank, in which Douglas 
fully agreed ; but as I had pledged my word to Captain 
Patten that I should not interfere with the dragoon officers, 
I continued my usual dormitory, which was on the hay 
put on board for the horses. 

On our arrival at Lisbon, Colonel Douglas ascertained 
the name of our convoy and that of the captain. He 
declared at the time that he would report the whole 
transaction to the Commander-in-chief. Whether he did 
so or not I cannot say, as I never after had the pleas are 



of meeting Mm but once, and that on the Pyrenees and 
under circumstances which precluded much conversation : 
he was bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound which 
he had just received in the neck. I recollect being told 
on our arrival at Lisbon by a gallant old naval officer, who 
was highly indignant at the affair, that we were taken 
in convoy because our voluntary protector did not belong 
to the station, and therefore took the opportunity of offering 
his services as a pretext for trespassing on Sir Richard 
Keats' cruising ground. 

Having remained in Lisbon barely long enough to 
prepare equipment necessary to take the field, I now 
marched from that capital for the fourth time ; but 
although superior in rank I did not feel more happy. On 
former occasions I proudly fell into the ranks of as fine 
and gallant a corps as ever moved forth to battle ; I 
laughed and joked with old comrades whom I sincerely 
esteemed. Our march was enlivened with martial music, 
and we enjoyed each other's society when the daily march 
was over. That was a walk of pleasure ; but now the 
contrast was woeful. Silent and alone I left Lisbon. I 
had a dreary march of some hundred miles before me ; 
heavily therefore I plodded along and always in dread 
of being taken for a Belemite. At last however I for- 
tunately fell in with an artillery officer, a lieutenant 
who was proceeding to the army with a relay of mules 
for the guns. My new acquaintance being also proficient 
in more languages than one, we could, as occasion required, 
and without dread of detection, pass as natives of different 
countries ; and through the general information acquired 
by the curious traveller who has wandered far, we were 
enabled to act in many capacities. In some measure there- 
fore to brighten the gloom and break the monotony of our 


long and dreary march, we exerted our ingenuity in frequent 
varieties of calling. 

In our playful frolics we acted many parts ; but to 
recount all the occurrences which took place during this 
extraordinarily long march would be impossible ; yet, lest it 
should be imagined that I wish to insinuate that fortune 
smiled upon all our juvenile and thoughtless freaks and 
to show that, as all who adventure much, we also shared 
her frowns, I shall relate one anecdote. Approaching the 
Ebro, we were billeted in the house of a hidalgo a short 
way from the town of Keynosa. In the mansion of our 
noble host dwelt two beautiful young ladies, nieces of a 
High Church dignitary, then absent at Madrid. With one 
of these fair ladies the lieutenant of artillery becanie 
desperately enamoured, and his love seemed to be returned. 
A mutual attachment was confessed ; a union was mutually 
agreed upon ; and the fair Iberian heroically determined 
to knit her fate with that of her lover and confiding in 
his honour resolved on an elopement. That my friend's 
intentions were perfectly honourable I had no doubt ; but 
to induce a Spanish bishop to give the hand of his niece 
to a heretic was not to be thought of. Under these circum- 
stances I of course lent my aid, seeing that my companion 
was determined at all hazard to carry her ofp. The elope- 
ment was fixed for the morning dawn. The heroine, the 
better to elude discovery, determined to travel for a stage 
or two in male attire ; to this I contributed a new hat. 
In this hat were closely crammed a pair of doeskin inex- 
pressibles belonging to the great gun officer, which were 
privately consigned to the fair lady and by her kept in 
her room until required. One of our servants was to 
accompany the lady and gentleman, who were to start at 
daybreak, each riding in a man's saddle and as men do, 


to which the lady made no objection. In truth Spanish 
ladies see nothing either morally or physically wrong in 
this mode of travelling. The principal object to be attained 
was to lull the suspicions of the family, particularly that 
of the young lady's aunt and of her elder sister, whose 
vigilance was roused by certain telegraphic glances which 
passed between the incautious lovers. To forward this we 
invited the whole family that night and generously supplied 
them with mulled wine highly spiced and sweetened and 
qualified with a liberal portion of brandy. This punch 
royal was plentifully supplied ; and to say the truth the 
beverage was freely quaffed by all to a very late hour, 
when at length all retired to rest. The anxiously looked- 
for dawn having appeared, we beheld the little lady 
emerging from her room fully equipped for travelling. 
Her costume certainly caused some mirth. My friend's 
doeskins not being sufficiently ample, were ripped down 
the rear ; but for security, as well as to prevent untoward 
accidents, the young lady had established a communication 
between the separated parts of the dress by cross-lacing 
or frogging, such as may be seen across the breast of a 
hussar's blue frock. My hat was tastefully perched on 
the crown of her head, rather on one side and made fast 
to a net or caul in which her hair was confined, an arrange- 
ment not unfrequently adopted by men in Spain. Thus, 
with the addition of a pair of top or jockey-boots (also mine) 
and a handsome whip, she had all the appearance of a 
smart and fashionable little postilion. Her white jacket 
was also slit and frogged, but in front and for a similar 
reason. Now as we lightly tripped downstairs a confused 
noise was heard through the house, a violent retching 
caused by the previous night's dissipation ; all were indeed 
aroused; and as we were hurrying our little postilion 


towards the stables we were overtaken by the ever vigilant 
annt and a host of servants. Protestations of honourable 
intentions were vain ; the poor little postilion was made 
prisoner and marched back to the hoase, while we slunk 
off crestfallen and abashed. 

Moving silently along we arrived that night at Reynosa 
and were billeted in different houses. Next day we visited 
the interesting little hamlet Fontebro, so called from its 
being close to two springs, whence that noble stream the 
Ebro derives its waters ; this was three miles distant from 
Reynosa. On our return we dined with the gentleman 
at whose house I was quartered, a most hospitable person ; 
his wife was equally hospitable ; they cordially invited 
us to remain some days. We met a large party of ladies 
and gentlemen at dinner and were highly entertained, as 
is generally the case at all foreign tables where people 
meet to eat, drink and be merry, rather than to watch what 
others eat and drink and criticise their manner of doing 
so. I once heard a fine gentleman ask the person next 
him at a dinner-party and in hearing of the person who 
caused the remark, " Can you fancy anything so vulgar 
and ill-bred as to be helped twice to soup ? " The answer 
was pungent and laconic, " Yes, remarking it." 

In the midst of our hilarity a servant entered with a 
parcel directed to the two English officers who had arrived 
at Reynosa the previous evening. For some reason or 
other I felt no inclination to open it ; but the good couple 
of the house insisted that we should stand upon no ceremony, 
but examine its contents. When I loosened the string 
with a faltering hand, the first object which presented 
itself was my hat, with a pair of jockey-boots stuffed into 
it, the hat so soaked and squeezed that it appeared more 
like a dirty wet sponge than a cover for the head ; next 


came the little white frogged jacket, which caused a good 
deal of laughter. On my showing some reluctance to explore 
further, the lady of the house, next to whom I sat, put her 
hand into the little bag and to our confusion drew forth 
my friend's mutilated buckskins with the hussared rear 
face ; these she held up to full view, whirling them round 
and round for the benefit of all eyes. The roars of laughter 
now became absolutely hysterical ; we endeavoured to join 
in the general mirth, but I fear our laughter partook some- 
what of Milton's grin. Hundreds of questions were now 
asked in a breath — where did they come from ? to whom 
did they belong ? why cut them up ? with many other 
curious enquiries, especially from the ladies. Seeing that 
any attempt at plausible explanation would most likely 
be doubted, we considered it better truly to relate the 
principal circumstances, glossing them over as well as 
we could. Our account but increased the mirth, especially 
among the fair, who wondered at our having been at all 
abashed at what should only cause a hearty laugh. One 
asked which of us helped to lace up the young lady, as 
she could not see to do it herself ; and other like questions 
they asked which I cannot now call to mind. They all 
pathetically lamented the disappointment of the poor young 
would-be fugitive who was all ready. The affair certainly 
created much merriment ; but we could not conceal even 
from ourselves that the merriment was entirely at our 
expense. Thus ended our last adventure, with a loss to 
my friend of a pair of doeskin tights cut up for a lady, and 
to me of a pair of boots and a new hat, for the water with 
which it was saturated had ruined it beyond repair. 

Next morning before dawn we crossed the Ebro and 
continued our march towards the army, perfectly cured 
of our frolics. Passing through Vittoria a few days after 



the celebrated battle there fought, I halted for a day to 
visit many old comrades, seventeen officers of the 28th, 
who had been wounded in the action. After cordially 
condoling with them all I went on again ; and after a march 
of six hundred miles at length joined the army in the 
beginning of July on the great barriers placed by nature 
to separate France from Spain. The consequences of 
the victory at Vittoria still continued to operate. The 
enemy were thrust backwards at all points, and about the 7th 
or 8th of the month the entire frontier of Spain, from the 
celebrated Roncesvalles to the fortress of San Sebastian 
on the Bay of Biscay, was, with the exception of Pampeluna 
and one or two minor places, occupied by the victorious 
allies. In this position the triumphant army remained 
tranquil for a short time, except for the operations carried 
on in the investment and siege of San Sebastian and of 



OOON after the battle of Vittoria the titular king, 
^^ Joseph, returned to Paris and was replaced in the 
chief command of the French army of Spain by the Duke 
of Dalmatia. On July 12th this marshal arrived at 
Bayonne from Dresden, despatched thence by Napoleon. 
Soult, inferior to no officer in France (except perhaps the 
emperor), either in judgment or activity, immediately set 
about remodelling his army ; and to revive their confidence 
and rouse their drooping spirits, cast down by repeated 
disasters, he determined to make an offensive movement 
against the position maintained by the allies. After ten or 
twelve days passed in continual preparations for carrying 
out his plans of relieving Pampeluna and if possible 
raising the siege of San Sebastian, he on July 25th simul- 
taneously attacked the passes of Roncesvalles and Maya ; 
and such was the weight of his columns that he broke 
through those passes, obliging the allies, after hard fighting 
and disputing every inch of ground, to retire, which move- 
ment continued the whole of that day and part of the night. 
On the 26th the enemy again came on and a good deal 
of fighting took place. The allies still retreated and 
directed their course towards Pampeluna. Soult was close 
at hand. The 4th Division under General Cole had passed 
Villaba, within three miles of Pampeluna, in full retreat, 



«ar]y on the morning of the 27th, closely followed by 
General Picton with the 3rd Division, and both divisions 
closely followed by Soiilt. This induced the garrison of 
Pampeluna to make a fierce sortie ; and General O'Donnel, 
who commanded the blockading troops, seeing Soult 
rapidly advancing and the two British divisions as rapidly 
retreating, and becoming naturally much alarmed, com- 
jnenced spiking his guns and destroying his magazines, 
when fortunately Don Carlos D'Espana with his division 
arrived at the critical moment ; he immediately drove back 
the garrison and reassured O'Donnel. Soult now fully 
expected to relieve Pampeluna in a few hours and appear- 
ances were much in favour of his doing so ; in fact it was 
all but accomplished. 

Picton, now perhaps reflecting that his retreat in the 
morning, together with that of Cole whom he commanded, 
was more precipitate than need called for, and perceiving 
the crisis at hand and all that depended on the affair, 
suddenly halted and placed his division across the outlets 
from the valleys of Zubiri and Lanz, thus screening 
Pampeluna. At the same time he ordered General Cole 
to occupy the heights between Oricain and Arietta ; but 
that general, observing a hill which stood forward about 
41 mile in advance and commanded the road to Huarte, 
moved forward to possess it, with the concurrence of 
Picton who now saw its importance. Soult, who was close 
^t hand, also saw the importance of possessing this hill, 
which as the armies were then situated was the key of 
Pampeluna. He immediately pushed forward a strong 
-detachment with accelerated pace to gain the hill ; and 
^0 exactly simultaneous was the rush of the contending 
parties that while the enemy were ascending one side 
dole's advanced guard were mounting the other. Two 


Spanish regiments, part of O'Donnel's blockading troops^ 
already posted on the hill and seeing the hostile troops 
approaching the summit, made a furious charge on the 
enemy's ascending strong body and gallantly bore them, 
down the hill. Soult lost the key. His heavy columns 
soon came up, flushed with what they considered a victory^ 
as they had driven before them two British divisions ; but 
their career was suddenly checked on seeing the mountains 
in their way crowned by ten thousand troops of Cole's 
division ; and not two miles further back stood Picton with 
a still stronger force, the 3rd Division, resting on Huarte. 

Soult having now his troops in hand commenced a^ 
general attack. His first and most vigorous effort was 
against the Spanish hill immediately on the right of Cole's 
division ; but the gallantry of the Spaniards was repeated 
and the enemy thrust down the hill. At this moment Lord 
Wellington arrived from the valley of Bastan, where he had 
left General Hill to deal with Count D'Erlon. Although 
he witnessed the victorious gallantry of the Spaniards, yet 
perceiving the great loss they sustained and the importance 
of maintaining the hill, he ordered the 4th English Regiment 
to their support. A general skirmish now commenced 
along the whole front, which continued until one of the 
customary Pyrenean visitors, a dense fog, put an end to 
the firing for the day. Various movements took place 
on both sides and throughout almost all the divisions 
during the night and next morning. About noon the 
enemy gathered at the foot of the position ; and a cloud 
of skirmishers pushed forward and ascended the hill like 
the flames and smoke of a volcano that could not be 
contained. At the same time Clauzel's division burst forth 
from the valley of Lanz, and pushing forward rapidly 
turned Cole's division, and were doubling in his rear when 


a Portugese brigade of the 6th Division suddenly appearing 
checked them in good time ; and at the same instant the 
6th Division, who came into line that morning, formed 
in order of battle across the front of the enemy. Thus the 
French column, who moved forward with intention to 
turn the left of the allies, now found themselves in a sore 
predicament ; two brigades of the 4th Division attacked 
them on the left ; the Portuguese brigade galled their right ; 
while the whole body of the 6th Division overwhelmed them 
in front and with a loud cheer and deadly charge sent 
them headlong off the field, which was strewed with their 
dead. This part of the fight was thus terminated. But 
higher up the hills the battle continued with increased 
fury ; every hill was charged, taken and retaken repeatedly ; 
nor were the French less forward than the British in 
repeating their charges. The 6th Division, in which I 
served with the 36th Regiment, after having quitted those 
in the valley, now climbed the rugged steep and lined 
with the troops above just becoming victorious ; and a 
few more charges decided the fate of the day. The enemy 
withdrew at all points. They stated their loss to be no 
more than two general ofiicers and eighteen hundred killed 
and wounded ; but it was generally rated much higher. The 
allies had upwards of two thousand men killed and wounded. 
The 29th was respected as a military sabbath by both 
armies, neither firing a shot throughout the day ; but this 
calm was the immediate precursor of a violent storm. On 
the morning of the 30th a furious attack was commenced 
against General Hill's corps, which led to a battle at 
Buenza. D'Erlon had twenty thousand men, the allies 
scarcely half that number. Hill maintained his ground 
for a long time ; but, his left being turned, he retired, 
losing five hundred men. Being joined by Campbell and 


Morillo he offered battle ; but Soult, who had come up, 
declined the fight. On the same morning at daylight 
another combat commenced at Sauroren ; and this combat 
lasted much longer and was far more severe than Hill's. 
Here the 6th Division suffered severe loss in charging 
the enemy, who retired reluctantly, but too far to return. 
They were now driven from the whole of their position and 
beaten at all points. 

In these battles of the 30th the alJies suffered a loss 
between killed and wounded, including some taken prisoners, 
of nearly two thousand men. The loss on the enemy's 
part was far greater ; their killed and wounded alone 
surpassed that of the allies, besides three thousand made 
prisoners. Soult now turned his face towards France. At 
ten o'clock on the morning of the 31st General Hill came 
up with his rearguard between Lizasso and the Puerto. 
Turning round, they halted and made good battle ; but 
their position was forced. Fortunately for them a thick 
fog prevented an effective pursuit. The allies lost about 
four hundred men and the enemy about the same number. 
On August 1st and 2nd the enemy were in full retreat for 
France ; and although, wherever encountered they suffered 
defeat, yet they were never in flight ; and on these two 
days we suffered a loss of at least one thousand men put 
hors de combat ; and we were on the point of suffering 
another and a more severe loss. 

On August 2nd, the last day of the fighting, the Duke 
of Wellington hurried to Echallar to reconnoitre the 
enemy and consult his maps, taking a party of the 43rd 
Light Infantry as a guard ; but the enemy unobserved, 
discovering the party sent a detachment to cut them off. 
A Sergeant Blood of the 43rd with some of the men, being 
in front, perceived the enemy coming on at speed ; and 


seeing the danger in which the duke was placed, dashed 
down from rock to rock roaring out the alarm. The diike 
instantly mounted and galloped off ; the French came up, 
but only in time to fire a volley after him. 

Both armies now reoccupied pretty nearly the same 
positions which they held previous to the attack of July 
25th ; and thus terminated the fighting commonly called 
the battles of the Pyrenees ; and never were battles 
more fierce or harassing. The principal encounters were 
at the point of the bayonet. We and they charged altern- 
ately up and down the sides of rugged and rocky mountains, 
exposed to the excessive summer heat of July and at the 
same time to the cold of winter. Dripping with perspiration 
from hard fighting and scorching sun in the valleys, we 
had immediately to clamber up to the tops of high 
mountains and face the extreme cold naturally to be 
found there and dense fogs, which soaked through us and 
are more penetrating and oppressive than heavy rain ; and 
this change we suffered more than once in the day, our 
constitutions thus undergoing a similar ordeal to that 
which I have heard is resorted to in perfecting chrono- 
meters, which, to prove their qualities of compensation, are 
moved in rapid succession from an oven to an ice-house 
and vice-versd. 

During these combats we, with the Spaniards and 
Portuguese, lost between killed, wounded, and taken 
seven thousand three hundred officers and men. The 
enemy on their part lost upwards of thirteen thousand 
and about four thousand prisoners. This short but bloody 
campaign lasted but nine days, one of which, the 29th, 
was dedicated to rest and peace ; on the other eight days 
ten distinct battles were fought and hotly contested. I 
cannot enter into or attempt a full description of those 


combats, fought along positions always intersected by lofty 
mountains which generally confined the view of regimental 
officers to their respective corps. Even staff officers 
scarcely knew what was passing beyond the limits of their 
brigades or divisions ; and consequently the information 
necessary to furnish accurate detail must depend on the 
narratives of many, and thus would far exceed the just 
limits of these modest Memoirs. Throughout those 
combats the Spanish fought with the greatest bravery, 
as did the Portuguese. It was remarked at the time 
that had Picton with the two divisions under his command 
continued to retreat for two hours longer on the morning 
of the 27th, Soult would inevitably have gained the double 
object which he had in view, the relief of Pampeluna and 
the animation of his drooping troops ; for although he 
might have been compelled to retreat immediately after- 
wards, he could have boasted of beating back the allies 
and succouring the beleaguered fortress, and averred that 
his subsequent retreat was preconcerted to guard the 
French frontier. And this renewal of the spirit and con- 
fidence of his troops might have been attended with double 
disadvantage ; for it may be remarked of opponents 
throughout animated nature that as one becomes elated by 
success, the other in equal ratio becomes depressed ; and 
though physical strength remain intact, moral influence is 

Some changes in posting the divisions now took place. 
General HilFs corps formed on the heights above Ronces- 
valles ; and the 6th Division lay down in front of the Maya 
Pass. The contending armies now again remained tranquil, 
although our lines were not far asunder, but in no part 
so close as at the Maya Pass, where the advanced sentries 
of both lines in many places, particularly at night, were 


not ten yards asunder. In this novel mode of campaigning 
we continued for upwards of three months. At the com- 
mencement some fieldworks were thrown up by us and 
soon abandoned ; but during the whole time of our stay 
there the enemy were incessant in fortifying their lines 
from the base of the mountains to their very summit, upon 
which their strong forts and redoubts were constructed. 

While we were in this position no acts of hostility took 
place save at Pampeluna and San Sebastian, although our 
mutual piquets after nightfall were in some parts in the 
same field, occasionally separated by a partial wall or small 
stream and frequently by nothing which might show a line 
of demarcation. Slight or, as they were termed, china walls 
were the most frequent barriers. In many instances the 
advanced sentries were almost in contact ; yet so well 
was civilised warfare understood that they never interfered 
with each other and scarcely ever spoke. The usual words, 
*^ All's well, " were never cried out. This monotonous roar 
was superseded by " stone chatters " — white polished stones, 
about two pounds' weight each, were placed on the spot 
where each sentry was usually posted at night, and he 
struck them against each other twice in slow time. This 
was repeated along the chain of sentries. Should any sentry 
neglect this for more than five minutes, the next sentry 
instantly struck the stones three times and quickly ; this 
rapidly passed along the line and a visit from the piquet 
immediately followed. By these means we were sure that 
a sentry could not sleep nor be negligent on his post for 
more than five minutes at a time. It was rather remarkable 
that whatever signals our sentries made were immediately 
repeated by those of the enemy. In visiting these advanced 
sentries, I sometimes spoke to French officers performing 
B, similar duty, although this, strictly speaking, was not 


sanctioned. On those occasions I often got a small flask 
of French wine ; the manner in which this was procured 
was rather curious. The French officer put down his flask 
and retired a few paces, when I advanced and emptied it 
into my wooden canteen ; I then replaced the flask and my 
friendly foe took it up after I had retired. This may 
appear strange to the civil reader and upon reflection so 
it did to ourselves ; nor could we well explain how it was 
that two officers familiarly conversing within a few yards 
should entertain such absolute horror of coming within 
touch J as if it were equal to high treason ; but such was 
the case. It would seem that warfare bore close affinity ta 
the plague ; so long as you avoided contact all was safe. 
It was prohibited under the heaviest penalty that soldiers 
should ever exchange a word with the enemy. At this 
time the army was very scantily provisioned ; and many 
disgraceful desertions took place to the French who were- 
well supplied. 

On one of my visits to the sentries, when I had got my 
flask of wine, the French officer asked me, apparently as a 
commonplace question, when we intended to attack them, 
adding, *' You need have no hesitation in telling us, for we 
know you intend it, and we are prepared night and day to 
receive you." I replied that as to his preparation to receive 
us his present generosity gave earnest ; but as to the time 
when the attack should take place, I was totally ignorant. 
I added that Lord Wellington was too well acquainted with 
natural consequences not to know that he who betrays 
himself by divulging his secrets cannot reasonably depend 
on another for fidelity ; and that he who threatens openly 
will be counteracted secretly ; that in either case defeat 
is generally the result. After this I never entered into- 
conversation with any French officer. 


Whilst our right and centre were in this state of 
tranquillity, towards our left, especially near San Sebastian, 
the war was carried on with the greatest activity. This 
fortress, after one or two failures and very severe losses 
on our part, was at length taken by storm on August 
31st. The small castle which crowned Monte Orgullo 
held out until September 9th, when it capitulated, the 
gallant governor having obtained honourable terms. 
Immediately after the storming the town was set fire to 
in all quarters ; and the most shocking barbarities, such 
as are scarcely credible, were perpetrated by the British 
soldiers on the unfortunate inhabitants of all ages and 

Early in August Soult had meditated a strenuous attack 
to relieve San Sebastian, but the scattered and disorganised 
state of his army caused much delay. At last, when all 
was ready, he was about to assault the allies on August 
30th, but something prevented which induced him to defer 
the attack until next morning. On August 31st therefore 
at daylight, the enemy rushed forward with the usual 
impetuosity attending their first attack, bearing down all 
before them. Their front column, directed by General 
Keille, made great progress up the heights to San Marcial, 
while Lamartiniere's division assailed to the right ; and 
when their skirmishers had gained two-thirds of the hill and 
were checked, their dense column were moved forward. 
Then the Spaniards, who were posted there, undauntedly 
coming forward, vigorously charged the French column and 
sent them headlong down the hill. 

During this time the head of Yillatte's column, having 
crossed the fords at the foot of the hill on rafts and boats, 
ascended the ridge and more vigorously renewed the fight, 
and gained the left of the Spanish line. The 82nd English 



Eegiment moved forward a short distance to maintain the 
post. At this moment Lord Wellington appeared, when 
the Spaniards, scarcely kept steady by their own officers, 
now shouting forth a cheer of recognition rushed forward 
to the charge with such impetuosity that these opponents 
too were swept down the hill as if by a torrent. Some 
pontoon boats which came to their rescue, becoming over- 
loaded by the fugitives in their hurry to get away, were 
sunk, when many were drowned ; and the breaking of the 
bridges to allow the boats to come to the rescue decided 
the combat at that point, with the loss of many hundreds 
of the enemy. Soult, who beheld this defeat from the 
mountain called "Louis XIV.," determined to try in another 
quarter ; but it was several hours before the scattered 
masses could be collected and the bridges repaired. This 
effected, he sent the remainder of Villatte's reserve over the 
river, and uniting it with Foy's division urged on a more 
formidable attack at Vera. In this combat he was not 
more successful ; but although beaten at all points, still 
he hesitated not. He determined to make a third attack, 
for he had plenty of troops still left. He had forty thousand 
men collected in the morning ; he attacked with thirty 
thousand ; and the allies in action amounted to only ten 
thousand. But the heavy cannonade clearly heard from 
San Sebastian during the morning now ceased, for during 
the combats above mentioned, San Sebastian had been 
stormed and taken without any interruption from without. 
The movements of Soult previous to his attack were in 
appearance confused, but they were designedly so, with 
a view of deceiving Wellington ; but the latter was well 
informed on the night of the 29th what Soult's plan was ; and 
he consequently sent orders to the Maya Pass to move the 
troops there stationed forward on the morning of the 31st 


to keep D'Erlon's corps ^occupied, and prevent his sending 
any reinforcement to aid Soult's attack. Sir Charles Colville 
therefore moved out with the 6th Division. We had a 
sharp affair and lost some fifty or sixty men ; no other 
part of the right or centre of our line was disturbed. 
Wellington felt perfectly secure in the strength of 
his position. A brigade of Guards had come up from 
Oporto ; and three fresh regiments had just arrived 
from England and formed a brigade for Lord Aylmer. 
Soult, having received in the cour«e of the day 
(31st) a report of the storming and capture of San 
Sebastian, no longer hesitated ; he retired, determined 
to assemble his forces and prepare for a more general 
action. In these latter combats Uhe enemy lost three 
thousand five hundred men, the English and Portuguese 
one thousand, the Spaniards sixteen hundred, all in the field; 
but the whole loss of the allies on this day, including the 
storming of San Sebastian, exceeded five thousand. Both 
armies now fell into their former positions, and for some 
time tranquillity was observed. 



' Lj^ARLY in October the Duke of Wellington, having 
-*— ^ San Sebastian now secure in his rear and fore- 
seeing that a great battle must soon be fought, de- 
termined to push forward his left wing, gain the lower 
Bidassoa and the great Rhune mountain and thus establish 
a part of his army within the French frontier. The better 
to conceal his design, which was rather hazardous, 
continual manoeuvring took place from right to left of 
the allied lines, which completely succeeded in deceiving 
the enemy. Everything was so well arranged that not 
the slightest appearance of an attack was discovered. On 
the morning of October 7th the 5th Division and Lord 
Aylmer's brigade proceeded to the fords ; and still the 
enemy perceived no change, the tents in the allied camp 
being left standing. The 5th Division soon crossed the 
stream, and had formed on the opposite bank without 
firing a shot or a shot being fired at them, so completely 
were the enemy taken by surprise. A signal rocket was 
now fired from Fontarabia, when the batteries along the 
whole line of our attack opened against the enemy, who 
were driven from their different posts before they well 
knew what was passing ; and so little did Soult con- 
template an attack in that quarter, always expecting it 



from Roncesvalles, that on the 6th he reviewed D'Erlon's 
division at Ainhoa, and remained that night at Espelette. 
Next morning, although a false attack was made against 
D'Erlon's position, yet Soult having heard the cannonade 
from San Marcial, instantly discovered the true point of 
attack and hurried thither ; but before he arrived at the 
scene of action all his positions on the Bidassoa were 
carried ; and although his presence corrected many errors 
and gave surprising confidence to his troops, yet he 
never could regain what was lost during his early 
absence. He loudly complained of want of vigilance in 
his generals ; and not without just cause, for they were 
nowhere prepared. 

Meanwhile the 6th Division continued the false attack 
on D'Erlon. Colonel Douglas with a Portuguese brigade 
was sent further on to the left, and the 36th Eegiment 
were ordered to be in readiness for his support. Colonel 
Leggatt, who commanded us, sent me to find Douglas and 
inform him that the regiment were ready when required. 
Douglas had attacked and gallantly carried a post strongly 
occupied on the crown of a hill, at the foot of which 1 
arrived just as he was led down, having been severely 
wounded in the neck. After the usual congratulations 
of old friends I delivered my message. He requested me 
to ride up the hill and see what was going forward, 
adding that the position was gallantly carried and it 
would be a pity to lose it. Topping the hill I found 
the Portuguese warmly engaged ; but the enemy were 
advancing in force on two sides of the hill. I rode back 
to Douglas, who was slowly moving to the rear, and he 
asked me to go as fast as possible and report ; there was 
no time to be lost. Taking the nearest direction towards 
the regiment, I was compelled to pass in front of a line of 


the enemy's skirmishers, who had been winding round the 
hill. They displayed the courtesy of their nation by dis- 
charging a general salute ; its only result was a shot 
through my great coat and one in my saddle-bow. Having 
safely run the gauntlet and though in great haste, yet 
resolving to show the polite nation that we yielded as 
little in courtesy as in arms, I turned round and taking 
off my hat bowed low. The firing ceased and they gave 
me a loud cheer. Hurrying forward, I soon joined the 
regiment who were already in motion. Pushing on with 
the light company, to whom I acted as guide, and arriving 
at the point where I had saluted the skirmishers, we fully 
expected to be engaged ; but to our surprise the French 
were retreating, leaving the hill in possession of the 
Portuguese. It appeared that as soon as our regiment 
began to descend from the lofty hill upon which they were 
formed, they were perceived by the enemy, who, taking them 
no doubt for the head of a strong column, considered 
it prudent to retire. The regiment having come up, 
ascended the hill, where we remained until towards dark, 
and then retired, leaving the post to the Portuguese. 
The loss of the Portuguese was rather severe, upwards 
of a hundred and fifty men hors de combat. But the 
spirited attack made by Douglas, the British regiment 
moved up to his aid, and the false attack of the whole 
6th Division completely succeeded in deterring D'Erlon 
from making any attempt to succour the French right wing, 
where the true attack was raging and where his support 
was most necessary. 

During all these movements and combats, which lasted 
nearly three days, the allies were invariably successful ; and 
all the objects proposed were fully attained. The fighting 
was desperate and well maintained on either side. On 


fording the Bidassoa, Halket's light Germans drove up all 
the enemy's advanced parties close to the summit of the. 
Croix des Bouquets ; but this being the key of the position, 
the enemy were strengthening it continually from the first 
onset both with guns and troops : so that when the 
Germans approached, the position had become so strong 
that Halket, having lost many men during his ascent, was 
brought to a stand. At this critical moment Colonel 
Cameron with the 9th Regiment, having arrived just as the 
Germans were checked, put them aside and making a 
desperate charge gained the summit. The enemy's guns 
had just time to retire through their infantry, who also 
quickly retreated to a second ridge. The approach to this 
was narrow ; but Cameron reducing his front quickly 
followed. However, the enemy having the start were soon 
formed, and the approach being winding with sharp tarns, 
they poured a destructive fire both in front and flank into 
the regiment. Yet this did not retard their quick advance 
for a moment ; while the enemy seemed no way moved by 
the vehement advance of Cameron until the regiment 
approached within a few yards, when a loud cheer and 
rapid charge so astonished them that they scarcely knew 
what they were about until they found themselves borne 
off the hill. Thus the 9th Regiment gallantly carried the 
key of the position, but with a heavy loss both in oifficers 
and men, the usual result of unswerving bravery. But 
were I to relate the gallant deeds of all throughout the 
whole of these operations, it would be necessary to enumer- 
ate all the British corps employed ; nor was the bravery 
displayed by the Spaniards less daring. Courage was never 
wanting to the Spanish soldiers ; but confidence in their 
chiefs was rare. Through the battles of the Pyrenees 
their divisions were intermixed with those of the British, 


not formed aloof in a separate corps, as at Talavera and 
Barossa, nor depressed and held back by such paralysing 
commanders as Cuesta and La Pefia. They now, conjointly 
with their brave allies, fought forward ; and well did they 
maintain their line. On the 8th, after General Giron with 
a body of Spaniards had driven off the French outposts 
on the road from Vera to Sarre and was charging up a 
hill near Puerto and pressing on abreast with the British 
troops, he was suddenly checked by a strong line of 
abattis, defended by two French regiments sending forth 
a heavy fire. The Spaniards became irresolute, but main- 
tained their ranks. At the moment Lieutenant Havelock, 
of the 43rd Kegiment, who was on the staff, witnessing the 
check and unable to curb his excitement, taking off* his 
hat and holloaing to the Spaniards, applied his spurs and 
dashed over the defence in among the enemy. At this the 
whole line of Spaniards broke into cries — " The little fair 
boy ! — Forward with the little fair boy I " and they tore 
through the abattis, and furiously charging the two French 
regiments drove them up the hill and over and hurried 
them into the embrace of General Kemp's ascending 
brigade, who sent them waltzing with graceful velocity 
round the base of the hill. But although gallant example 
will almost always ^x wavering resolve and give impetus 
and immediate decision to calculating courage, yet it but 
seldom succeeds in eliciting bravery out of cowardice. The 
surest criterion by which to judge of the gallantry and 
steadiness of the Spaniards during those operations is by 
reference to the casualties they suffered. It is true that 
a body of men may suffer great loss even in running away, 
but in the present instance there was no retreating ; all was 
fighting forward ; and when men advancing or standing 
still suffer severe loss, it is a certain proof of bravery and 


firmness. The loss of the enemy during these last combats 
was fourteen hundred men ; and that of the allies, British, 
Portuguese and Spaniards, sixteen hundred ; and of this 
number eight hundred were Spaniards. 

Most persons who have written on the campaigns in 
the Peninsula represent the Spanish army as ragged, half- 
famished wretches ; nor did I refrain from such epithets on 
seeing the miserable troops commanded by the Marquis 
Romana in the campaign of Sir John Moore ; but on 
reflection no blame could be attached either to their 
immediate commanders or to the soldiers for their motley 
appearance. The scandal and disgrace were the legitimate 
attributes of the Spanish Government. The members of 
the Cortez and Juntas were entirely occupied in peculation, 
amassing wealth for themselves and appointing their 
relatives and dependents to all places of power and emolu- 
ment, however unworthy and unqualified ; and although 
it was notorious that shiploads of arms, equipments, 
clothing and millions of dollars were sent from England 
for the use and maintenance of the Spanish troops, yet all 
was appropriated to themselves by the members of the 
general or local governments or their rapacious satellites, 
while their armies were left barefoot, ragged and half- 
starved. In this deplorable state they were brought into the 
field under leaders many of whom were scarcely competent 
to command a sergeant's outlying piquet ; for in the 
Spanish army, as elsewhere, such was the undue influence 
of a jealous and covetous aristocracy, that, unsupported by 
their influence, personal gallantry and distinction, however 
conspicuous, were but rarely rewarded. This is a pernicious 
system, especially with an army in the field ; for injustice 
and neglect powerfully tend to damp and dispirit the ardour 
even of the most zealous and devoted, and discourage that 


laudable ambition which is the lifespring in the breast of 
a true soldier. 

Again the armies became tranquil except at Pampeluna. 
Shortly before its surrender it was ascertained that the 
Governor-General was in the habit of sending despatches 
to Soult by a woman. A general order was therefore 
issued to the covering divisions to have all women 
coming from the rear and going to the front searched. 
Soon after this order was received, a woman who 
passed into the camp of the regiment came howling to 
the commanding officer, who, not comprehending a word 
she said, sent for me to interpret. This was attended 
with some difficulty, the Basque dialect being but imper- 
fectly known and the woman totally ignorant of any other. 
However it appeared that this woman, suspected of carrying 
despatches clandestinely, came simply to dispose of a 
pannier of bread and a small basket of eggs. In passing 
the quarter-guard she was stopped and searched, during 
which search all her bread and eggs were taken away by 
the men of the guard, commanded by a lieutenant of 
the regiment. Payment was not forthcoming, for the simple 
reason that the troops, being six months in arrear of pay, 
not a sixpenny piece was to be found amongst the men. 
On my reporting the affair as it occurred, the colonel 
ordered the officer to pay for the bread and eggs out of 
his private finances, at the same time giving him and the 
whole guard a severe but well-merited reprimand ; for 
besides the plundering of the woman, which might have 
been attended with serious inconvenience by deterring 
others from bringing supplies to the camp, the woman 
came from the front ; and this must have been seen by the 
whole guard. On my paying the woman for her bread 
and eggs as directed, she loudly demanded remuneration 


on other accounts — loss of time, torn garments, etc. ; but 
strictly confining myself to the colonel's instructions I 
declined entering into her others affairs, at which she 
appeared much disappointed. There were at that period 
many females searched with scant ceremony, but whether 
or not any despatches of the nature expected were ever 
seized I never heard. 

Soult having failed in every attempt to throw succour 
into Pampeluna, it surrendered on October 31st, after a 
gallant defence of a few months, during which many 
successful sallies were made. The covering divisions being 
now at liberty, a forward movement was decided upon ; 
but the first days of November were excessively boisterous 
and rainy. On the 6th and 7th, the earliest period when 
a movement could take place, the right wing under Sir 
Eowland Hill were pushed into the valley of Bastan, pre- 
paratory to a general attack which was intended for next 
day ; but the heavy rain which fell on the evening of the 
7th and next day rendered the roads again impassable, 
and so the battle of the Nivelle was delayed for two days. 

On the evening of the 9th the 6th Division descended 
through the Pass of Maya, which we had guarded with 
such anxious care for upwards of three months ; and 
marching the whole of that night we found ourselves on 
the memorable morning of November 10th close in front 
of the enemy's position, which they had been incessantly 
strengthening during the whole of that period. It was 
still dark ; and here we halted in columns, awaiting the 
progress of our left and left centre, who were pushed 
forward before daybreak. At length the auspicious dawn 
appeared, cheering and renovating after a harassing night 
march over deep and slobbery roads. Although in our 
present position we appeared to be well sheltered by forest 


trees, yet as soon as the misty haze of dawn was dispelled 
by clearer light our columns were discovered by the enemy's 
redoubts, which frowningly looked down from the heights 
above. After a short cannonade, which they immediately 
opened, their range became so accurate that their shells 
were falling amongst us rather quickly, causing many 
casualties. I saw one shell drop in the midst of a Portu- 
guese regiment in close column immediately in our rear ; 
it blew up twelve men, who became so scorched and 
blackened that on their fall they resembled a group of 
mutilated chimney-sweeps. The 36th Regiment lost 
several men by the bursting of shells. Sir H. Clinton, 
who commanded the division, perceived that although the 
huge trunks of the trees amid which we were formed 
might stop a solid round-shot propelled horizontally, yet 
their open branches afforded no protection against shells 
descending from a height above us. Considering therefore 
the place no longer tenable, he marched us out of the wood 
and drew up in line on its skirts in full view of the enemy's 
redoubts, judging that even this open exposure would not 
be attended with so severe a loss as continuing to be 
shelled in column. 

We now had a fiill view of the splendid scenery in front 
and the active warfare on our left ; and I had an opportunity 
of witnessing a good deal of what was passing. A long 
narrow strip of ground, flanked with a wall on either side, 
not far from us, separated the combatants on our left. 
The British troops frequently advanced and were driven 
back ; so did the enemy, and so they fared. Often did 
French officers advance into the field bearing their standards 
to animate their followers ; but they instantly fell and were 
as instantly replaced. At last the British troops, disdaining 
the protection of the wall, rushed in a body into the field 


and carried it. I can see plainly before me now Colonel 
Lloyd, who commanded the 94th Regiment, mounted on a 
large jet black charger, waving his hat to cheer on his men 
and riding up to the bayonets of the enemy close behind 
their wall. I saw him fall. His men were up at the 
instant and dearly avenged their commander's death. I 
felt double regret at his fate, having had the pleasure of 
being intimately acquainted with him when he was in the 
43rd Eegiment. 

The order at length arrived about ten o'clock for the 
6th Division to advance. Wrought up to the greatest 
excitement from being so many hours without moving, 
exposed to a fire of shot and shell and musketry from the 
breastworks of enemies partly concealed, and seeing the 
battle advancing upwards on our left, we now eagerly 
rushed forward. Proceeding rapidly we soon waded the 
Nivelle immersed above our middle, the men carrying their 
pouches above their heads, and immediately drove back 
all the enemy's piquets and outposts on both banks of the 
river without deigning to fire a shot. Some few we 
bayoneted who were too obstinate to get out of our way in 
time. Thus far advanced, the glorious scene became more 
developed. High up the mountains the blaze from their 
forts and redoubts was broad and glaring, while the mountain 
sides presented a brilliant surface of sparkling vivid fire, 
never ceasing but always ascending as our gallant troops 
rushed forward ; and nearly two hundred pieces of artillery 
angrily roaring forth mutual response, echoed from 
mountain to mountain, rendering the whole scene truly 

Having crossed the Nivelle, we rapidly advanced to- 
wards the forts and redoubts above Ainhoa, destined 
to be carried by the 6th Division. The hill which 


we, the 36th Regiment, faced was the steepest I ever 
climbed. The ground over which we had to pass had 
been intersected for months with incessant labour and 
French resource ; every five yards exposed us to a new 
cross-fire and deep cuts, which furnished graves for many 
a gallant British soldier. The brambles all through were 
so high and thickly interwoven and the inequalities of 
the ground so great as to prevent those who were not ten 
yards asunder from seeing each other. We moved forward 
in line ; there was no road. Under such circumstances 
but little order could be preserved ; and, as must be 
expected where all were anxious to advance, the strongest 
and most active gained the front. In this disordered order 
of battle the regiment advanced against the heavy-armed 
battery and principal redoubt. This was the goal which 
we kept in view, the prize, to obtain which the regiment 
unswervingly and rapidly ascended the mountain, from 
whose summit it thundered destruction all around. 
Between us and the base of this battery, to which we 
at length drew near, a small and rather clear space 
intervened. I shot forward alone with all the velocity 
I could command after so rapid an ascent, and arriving 
immediately under the fort I perceived the enemy regularly 
drawn up behind trees cut down to the height of about 
five feet, the branches pointing forward, forming an 
abattis. I immediately turned about, and after receiving 
an appropriate salute retraced my steps with redoubled 
speed. I seized the king's colour carried by Ensign 
Montgomery, which I immediately halted ; and called for 
the regimental Colour Ensign, McPherson, who answered, 
"Here am I." Having halted both colours in front of 
the foremost men, I prevented any from going forward. 
By these means we shortly presented a tolerably good 


front, and gave the men a few moments' breathing time. 
The whole operation did not take above ten minutes ; but 
the men coming up every instant, each minute strengthened 
the front. At this exciting moment my gallant comrades. 
Lieutenants Vincent and L'Estrange, who stood by my 
side, remarked that if I did not allow the regiment to 
advance, the 61st Regiment would arrive at the redoubt 
as soon as we should. I immediately placed my cap on 
the point of my sword and passing to the front of the 
colours gave the word, " Quick march. Charge ! " We 
all rushed forward, excited by the old British cheer. But 
my personal advance was momentary ; being struck by a 
shot which shattered both bones of my left leg, I came 
down. Vincent instantly asked what was the matter. 
I told him that my leg was broken, and that was all. 
I asked him to put the limb into a straight position 
and to place me against a tree which stood close by ; in 
this position I asked for my cap and sword, which had 
been struck from my hand in the fall ; and then I cheered 
on the regiment as they gallantly charged into the redoubt. 
The fort being carried, the regiment pursued the enemy 
down the opposite side of the hill, whilst I remained 
behind idly to look around me. The scene was beautifully 
romantic and heroically sublime. Groups of cavalry were 
seen judiciously, although apparently without regularity, 
dotted along the sides of every hill, watching an opportunity 
of falling on the discomfited foe. Our troops gallantly 
bore on over an unbroken series of intrenchments, thickly 
crowded with bayonets and kept lively by incessant fire. 
The awful passing events lay beneath my view; nor was 
there aught to interrupt my observation save a few bodily 
twitches, the pangs of prostrated ambition, and the shot and 
shells which barst close, or nearly cut the ground from 


under me. Alone I la}^ reclined, being unable to maintain 
an upright position ; and thus I had a good opportunity for 
melancholy contemplation, not unmixed with patriotic joy 
as I reviewed the battle which tended slowly upwards. 
The deadly strife was surprisingly grand ; yet the sublimity 
of the scene defied all attempt at description. The wreck 
and destruction of men and matter was strewn around ; 
the piteous life-ending moans of the wounded writhing in 
torture, and the loud yelling fury of the maddened com- 
batants, repeated by a thousand discordant echoes, were 
truly appalling, especially to a person who being put out 
of the fight could be only a spectator of the tumult. The 
fierce and continued charge of the British was irresistible, 
nor could they be checked ; onward they bore, nor stopped 
to breathe, rushing forward through glen, dale and forest, 
where vivid flashed the fire and bright gleamed the steel. 
Yet they seemed to chase only the startled red deer, 
prowling wolf or savage wild-boar, until they arrived at the 
steel-bristling strongholds of the foe. Now they occupied 
the same level upon which I lay. Here the battle raged 
in its utmost fury ; and for a short time it became 
stationary. The contending foes were the soldiers of the 
two most warlike nations of Europe and the most steadfast 
in mutual jealousy and aversion. The British legions 
impetuously rushed forward on the native soil of France, 
resolved to uphold till death the honour and glory of their 
country. Those of France with equal bravery and resolution 
determined to resist to the last this insulting intrusion 
on their soil. Thus mutually stimulated to madness, they 
met with a shock tremendous. France nobly maintained 
her well-earned military fame ; but her surprisingly valiant 
deeds proved vain in this bloody border strife, where noble 
emulation wrought up to the highest pitch the Percy and 


Douglas and a third not nerveless arm, all now dealing 
forth deadly blows under one and the same banner. What 
foe could resist their united attack or penetrate the shield 
formed of the Kose, Shamrock and Thistle when closely 
bound together in a union strong as lasting ? What foe 
could triumph over Wellington, who, born in Ireland, 
with the keen policy of Scotland, adopting England and 
combining the genius of all three, was the one appropriate 
chief to wield their united strength in the field ? A 
force constituted of such moral and physical strength, 
and led by such a man could not long be withstood. The 
star of the three united nations shone victorious on the 
summits of the lofty Pyrenees, gilding the tall pines which 
capped their heads for miles and foreboding downfall to 
Imperial France, since it was the star of true liberty and 
national independence. The French on their side with 
broken brand and fallen crest reluctantly gave way, sullenly 
retiring within their national boundary, no longer in- 




n^HIS memorable battle, which introduced the victorious 
British army and their allies into France, commenced 
before daybreak and continued until after dark. The enemy 
were beaten back from their strong frontier position, losing 
fifty-one guns, two thousand prisoners, stores incalculable and 
some thousands killed and wounded ; the nature of the ground 
prevented the number of these from being ascertained, — 
it must have been immense. As to our regiment's advance 
up the hill to the attack, it may perhaps be alleged that 
I should not have urged forward the colours so rapidly nor 
have been so far in front. Our advance, considering the 
steepness of the hill, was certainly rather rapid ; but had 
we not thus rapidly advanced, as in a continued charge 
through breastworks, we should have lost double the 
number of men ; and it certainly would not have fallen to 
the proud lot of our regiment alone to have stormed and 
carried the enemy's great redoubt ; and this we did, as 
may be gathered from the remark made by Vincent and 
L'Estrange about the 61st Regiment. But it is of little 
consequence whether I kept up with the colours or the 
colours came on at my pace ; anyway it affords proud 
consolation to reflect that it was in front of them I fell. 
Immediately before entering the redoubt, Montgomery^ 


Ch. XXVIIL] winning a step in the service. 323 

who carried the king's colour, furled the sheet round the 
staff, which he used as a lance, and thus armed gallantly- 
charged in amongst the foremost bayonets. Being a 
powerful and athletic person (afterwards lieutenant of 
Grenadiers), he made good use of his silk-bound weapon, 
and never did blood-stained royal banner bear more honour- 
able testimony of personal prowess in war. I know not 
what became of the staff ; it should ever be kept with the 
regiment and accompany it into action. Besides common 
promotion arising from casualties, one captain of the 
regiment got the brevet rank of major ; he was not in the 
action, but I, who was serving voluntarily and had a 
leg shattered while charging at the head of the regiment, 
was neglected. Being subsequently asked if I did not get 
the brevet step for my voluntary services and wound, I 
answered no, but that I got a permanent step and that was 
a lame one. 

From the Duke of Wellington's despatch relative to the 
battle of the Mvelle the following extract is copied : 
" While these operations were going on in the centre, 
I had the pleasure of seeing the 6th Division, under 
Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton, after having crossed 
the Nivelle and having driven in the enemy's piquets on 
both banks, and having covered the passage of the 
Portuguese division under Lieutenant-General Sir John 
Hamilton on its right, make a most handsome attack upon 
the right of the Nivelle, carrying all the intrenchments 
and the redoubt on that flank." In justice to the regiment 
I beg to remark that if the attack of the division was most 
handsome, that of the 36th Regiment must have been most 
beautiful, for it was this regiment which managed to take 
the lead and single-handed carried the redoubt. 

Immediately after the redoubt was taken, under which 


I fell, another fort on our right, not yet attacked, turned 
some of its guns against the one just captured ; and their 
shot and shell ploughing the ground all around me nearly 
suffocated me with dust and rubbish. Those who were 
not very severely wounded scrambled their way down the 
hill ; but I might as well have attempted to carry a mill- 
stone as to drag my shattered leg after me. I therefore 
remained among the dead and dying, who were not few. 
My situation was not enviable- After some hours Assistant- 
Surgeon Simpson of the regiment appeared. I then 
got what is termed a field dressing ; but unfortunately 
there were no leg splints ; and so arm splints were sub- 
stituted. Through this makeshift I suffered most severely 
during my descent. Some of the band coming up, I was 
put into a blanket and carried down the hill ; but as we 
proceeded down this almost perpendicular descent, the 
blanket contracted from my weight in the middle, and then 
owing to the want of the proper long splints the foot 
drooped beyond the blanket's edge ; it is almost im- 
possible to imagine the torture which I suffered. Having 
gained the base of the hill towards dark, a cottage was 
fortunately discovered and into this I was carried. 

Up to the noon of this day I congratulated myself on 
my good fortune in having served in the first and last 
battle fought in Spain, and proudly contemplated marching 
victoriously through France. I recalled too with pleasure 
and as if it were a propitious omen, that on this day five 
years ago I first trod Spanish ground. On November 16th, 
1808, we marched into Fuentes de Ofioro, under the command 
of Sir John Moore. Then I was strong hale and joyous, 
with the glorious prospects of war favourably presented to 
view ; but the afternoon of this, the fifth anniversary, 
proved a sad reverse. On this day I was carried out of 


Spain, borne in a blanket, broken in body and depressed 
in mind, with all my brilliant prospects like myself fallen 
to the ground. Such is glorious war. 

After the field dressing Simpson departed in search of 
other wounded persons ; and on his report of my wound 
two or three other medical officers sought me, fortunately 
in vain, that they might remove the limb. On the 4th 
day I was conveyed to a place where a hospital was 
established ; but the inflammation of the leg was then so 
great (it was as big as my body) that no amputation could 
be attempted. A dressing took place which was long and 
painful, for I had bled so profusely while in the cottage 
that a cement hard as iron was formed round the limb, and 
before my removal it was absolutely necessary to cut me 
out of the bed on which I lay. After a considerable time 
passed in steeping with tepid water, the piece of mattress 
and sheet which I carried away from the cottage were 
removed ; and now began the more painful operation of 
setting the leg. Staff-Surgeon Mathews and Assistant- 
Surgeon Graham, 31st Regiment, were the operators. 
Graham seized me by the knee and Mathews by the foot. 
They proposed that four soldiers should hold me during 
the operation ; to this I objected, saying with a kind of 
boast that I was always master of my nerves. They now 
twisted and turned and extended my leg, aiming along it 
like a spirit level. The torture was dreadful ; but though I 
ground my teeth and the big drops of burning perspiration 
rapidly chased each other, still I remained firm, and stifled 
every rising groan. After all was concluded I politely 
thanked Mathews, carelessly remarking that it was quite 
a pleasure to get wounded to be so comfortably dressed. 
This was mock heroism, for at the moment I trembled as 
if just taken from the rack ; however, it had a strange effect 


upon Mathews, who told Lavens that he feared I was 
somewhat deranged from the great loss of blood and 
agonising pain which I suffered. Lavens, Assistant-Surgeon 
of the 28th Regiment and an old messmate, only laughed 
and offered to be responsible for the soundness of my 
intellect if no other cause than bodily pain interfered. 
Some time afterwards Mathews told him that the inflam- 
mation had much subsided and he thought that amputation 
might safely be performed ; yet I appeared so strong, 
doing so well and in such good spirits, he felt some little 
inclination to give the limb a chance, if he could believe 
that my good spirits would continue. Lavens, whom I 
saw every day, replied that he need not dread low spirits 
on my part under any circumstance, and as to the difference 
between the loss of life and that of a limb he felt convinced 
it would be no great matter to me. If therefore he thought 
the preservation of the limb depended on corporeal or 
mental constitution, he recommended the trial. Mathews 
told all this to me, when I willingly concurred in the 
attempt to save the leg. It had served me well during 
many a long and weary march, in many a lively skirmish 
and some hard-fought battles, particularly whilst in the 
28th Light Company ; I therefore felt extremely unwilling 
to part with it. One feels regret at losing even a favourite 
walking-stick ; what then must the feeling be at losing a 
faithful leg ? The trial was decided on ; but in justice to 
Dr. Mathews I feel called upon to declare that he most 
fully pointed out the imminent danger attending the 
experiment. Thus far I have entered into detail in con- 
sequence of a remark made to the General Medical Board, 
Drs. Weir, Franklin and Car, who said, when I appeared 
before them in London, that the medical officer who saved 
my leg was in no way borne out in making the attempt, 


for there were ninety-nine chances to one against my life. 
It is true that the wound was as severe as could possibly 
be inflicted ; the tibia and fibula were both shattered, and 
the orifice made seemed the entrance to a quarry of bones, 
fi ve-and-thirty pieces of which exfoliated and kept the 
wound open for several years. 

When I was carried out of the field my whole fortune 
consisted of one crusado novo, a Portuguese silver coin value 
three shillings. This I had much difficulty in persuading 
the poor cottagers to accept, not from a consideration that 
the sum was an inadequate remuneration for the mutilation 
of their mattress and whatever food they supplied, but solely 
from pure motives of generosity. They wept at my parting, 
and prayed to every saint in heaven or elsewhere for my 
speedy and perfect recovery. On my arrival therefore 
in hospital, I possessed not a single farthing ; and in my 
situation other nourishment was required than that of a 
ration poand of bread and beef. My host, Don Martin 
D'Echiparre, continually sat by my bedside. Looking upon 
him as a generous and liberal person, I, after a few evenings, 
candidly confessed my pecuniary embarrassments, requesting 
him to lend me a few dollars and offering him my gold 
watch until I should receive a remittance from the pay- 
master. He replied, " Do you take me for a Jew ? I never 
lend less than a hundred guineas ; these you may have 
when you please." This I considered a bombastical evasion 
and declined his offer. Next morning he made his usual 
visit and approaching close said in a low voice, "You 
refused last night to take a hundred guineas ; take at least 
these fifty," and he held them forth. I told him that so large 
a sum was both superfiuous and useless ; however, after a 
good deal of controversy, he consented to lend me so small 
A sum as ten guineas. 


After a lapse of three montlis an order was received to 
remove the hospital depot to St. Jean de Luz. What was 
to be done ? I had received no remittance ; consequently 
I had no means of repaying the ten guineas, six of which 
were already spent — one more was absolutely necessary 
to defray the cost of my removal to St. Jean de Luz, which 
would take four days. I was to be carried in a litter borne 
by inhabitants, to pay whom would require the greater part 
of the guinea. To pay back the remaining three would 
be but a poor return ; but my truly noble and generous 
host having entered the room, relieved me from my un- 
pleasant dilemma. After expressing his deep regret at my 
departure, he thus addressed me : " Being aware that you 
have had no remittance from the army ; and knowing from 
the hospitable and generous manner in which you have 
entertained the many officers who continually came to see 
you, in which hospitality I nightly participated with 
pleasure, that you must want money, I put these four 
farthings in my pocket for you," presenting four Spanish 
doubloons. " I offer you," continued he, " this small sum 
because of your obstinacy in refusing the hundred guineas ; 
but if you will accept that sum and another hundred in 
addition, you would please me much more. Do not pay 
me from St. Jean de Luz nor from England, but only 
when you get home to your friends in Ireland ; and if you 
never pay, it will be of no consequence whatever." How- 
ever I declined to accept either hundreds or doubloons : 
and after mutual protestations of sincere friendship and 
regard, we bade each other a final farewell and parted 
with unfeigned regret. This anecdote I relate as highly 
honourable to the country in which it occurred. D'Echiparre 
was a Frenchman by birth, but a Spaniard by adoption, 
and in the Spanish language we always conversed. He 


was a Valladolid merchant and had realised upwards of 
ten thousand pounds, which in that part of the country 
was considered a handsome fortune. 

On my arrival at St. Jean de Luz I was so fortunate 
as to procure two months' pay (not in advance for we were 
seven months in arrear), when I immediately sent the ten 
guineas to my generous host. 

The time having arrived to get rid of the cumbrous sick 
and wounded officers, we were removed to los Pasages and 
there embarked in a transport bound for Portsmouth ; but 
the wind proving contrary prevented our entering the 
channel and we were compelled to put into Bantry Bay 
in Ireland. Here we anchored close to a village, if I 
recollect right, called Castletown, and put up at an inn 
kept by the widow Martin. The wind continuing very 
boisterous and contrary, we resolved to travel overland 
through Ireland. Enquiring for a postchaise, we were 
informed that there was a postchaise, but that some miles 
of the road were as yet unfinished, and consequently not 
carriageable. Upon this we dropped down to the village 
bearing the name of the bay. Here having learned that 
the road was perfectly good, we landed our baggage and 
went ashore ; but now to our great dismay we found that 
this village had no postchaise. In this dilemma we 
decided to place our baggage on pack-saddles and to travel 
as in Spain. The operation of packing had commenced, 
when looking into the courtyard I discovered a hearse. 
Upon enquiry the waiter said : " Please, yOur honour, it is 
an ould lady who died here lately, and her friends thought 
they would bury her proudly ; so they sent to Cork for 
the hearse and it is going back to-day to Bandon." I 
sent for the driver and immediately concluded a bargain ; 
he engaged to carry us to Bandon in the hearse ; and thence 


we were to have two postchaises to take ns to Cork for 
a sum agreed npoii. The pack-saddling was relinquished ; 
and the whole party, consisting of Captain Taylor, 28th, 
with a broken thigh, Captain Girlston, 31st, a broken arm, 
Captains Bryan and Cone, 39th, sick leaves, and Captain 
Blakeney, 36th, a broken leg, entered the hearse. Our 
first stage was Dnnmanway, where we made a tremendous 
meal ; the innkeeper complimented us by saying that he 
never saw travellers in a hearse make so hearty a break- 
fast. Our appearance must have been extraordinary ; for 
as we moved along in the carriage of death, but not with 
its usual pace, the country folk, abandoning their legitimate 
avocations, ran after us for miles. 

On our arrival at Bandon thousands of the inhabitants 
followed and impeded our way. I recollect that a regiment 
of militia quartered there ran like others to see the novel 
show, when hundreds of the rnnabout crowd cried out to 
them : " Get ye out of the way I What have ye to do with 
the honours of war ? Look there ! " and they pointed to 
our crutches, which stuck out from the open hearse in 
all directions, like escutcheons emblasoning the vehicle 
of death. At length we got safe to our inn, attended as 
numerously as if the hero of the Peninsula himself had 
been present. Here I called upon a lady who lived close 
to our inn — a Mrs. Clarke. She had two sons in the army, 
with both of whom I was intimately acquainted, particularly 
the eldest ; he was a brother officer of mine in the 28th 
Regiment and was afterwards removed to the 6th Regiment, 
in which he lost a leg. To him we are indebted for that 
valuable publication, The United Service Journal, The 
other I knew in the 77th Regiment; he also had been 
severely wounded in the leg, so that the lady had seen both 
her sons on crutches. When she saw the rough crutches 


which I carried, or rather which carried me, she offered 
me a pair more highly finished, belonging to one of her 
sons ; but since mine were made of the halberts of two 
sergeants who lost their lives charging into the redoubt 
under which I fell, I declined the lady's very polite offer. 

Next morning we set out for Cork ; and being actually 
enclosed within postchaises we contrived to screen our 
honours of war from public notice and therefore were not 
cheered to our hotel. At Cork the party separated, each 
making his way to England as best he could. On my arrival 
in London, I waited on Sir Henry Torrens, military secretary 
to His Royal Highness the Commander-in-chief. I men- 
tioned to the secretary my intention of memorialising the 
Duke of York for promotion by brevet, in consideration of 
my voluntary services and severe wounds received whilst so 
serving. Sir Henry after hearing my statement said that 
I was perfectly right, but at the same time advised me to 
procure testimonials of my services from my different com- 
manding officers in support of my memorial. With this 
advice I willingly complied, conscious of my having on 
every occasion endeavoured to perform my duties to the 
fullest extent of my abilities. After such encouragement 
from so high an authority as the Commander-in-chiefs 
secretary and firmly relying on the nature of the testimonials 
which I should receive, I considered my promotion certain. 
I immediately wrote to Colonel Cross, commanding 28th 
Regiment at Fermoy, and to Colonel Browne (late 28th), 
commanding 56th Regiment at Sheerness. With their 
replies and a memorial to His Royal Highness, I waited 
on the secretary; but on presenting them, he, without 
even opening them, said : " Recollect, Captain Blakeney, 
that I did not promise you promotion. I cannot give away 
majorities." I replied that I did not apply for a majority ; 


I only asked for the rank by brevet, which was throughout 
the army considered as a reward for meritorious officers 
when regimental promotion might be attended with diffi« 
culty. I received no answer. Chagrined and disappointed 
because, when the secretary had told me that I was right 
in making a memorial and had advised me to get my 
commanding officer's testimonials, he now opposed that 
memorial before he even submitted it to the Commander- 
in-chief, I retired with strong impressions, which I now 
decline to state. In a short time I received an answer to 
my memorial stating that I could not at the present 
moment be promoted by brevet, but that I should get a 
majority when a favourable opportunity offered. Unbounded 
confidence was not inspired by this promise from the 
Horse Guards, particularly after what had passed on the 
subject. How far this diffidence was justified may be 
seen in the sequel. 

The above statement may appear extraordinary ; but 
between the time of my first interview with Sir Henry 
Torrens and the arrival of those testimonials from my 
various commanding officers, which the secretary had 
suggested, the star of Napoleon had begun to set. His 
abdication soon followed ; war was no longer contemplated ; 
and the claims of officers, of whatever nature, were 
abandoned to a heartless neglect. 



A FTER remaining in London at a heavy expense while 
I awaited tlie answers of my commanding officers 
and the result of my memorial, I left town and joined the 
2nd Battalion of the regiment, then quartered at Lewes. 
Here I remained for some time ; and then being still on 
sick, or rather wounded, leave, I visited my old acquaintance, 
the Prince d'Arenberg, from whom I had received repeated 
and pressing invitations. Arriving in Brussels, I found 
that unfortunately he was then in Italy. When I was 
rather weary of Brussels but unwilling so soon to go 
back to England, especially as the prince was shortly 
expected to return, some particular friends. Sir John 
Burke of Glenesk, Sir William Elliot and Lord Bury, 
aide-de-camp to the Prince of Orange, determined on an 
excursion to Paris, and I was prevailed upon to accom- 
pany them. We travelled in Burke's private carriage. 
The early part of our journey was excessively agreeable ; 
but on drawing near the capital we encountered an extra- 
ordinary number of vehicles of every description and on 
approaching a small town within a post or two of Paris 
towards dark, we met a train of from thirty to forty carriages. 
Upon asking the cause of this great concourse, a Mrs. 
Atchison, whom with her two amiable daughters we had 
known at Brussels, exclaimed from one of the carriages, 



" What, are you not aware that Napoleon will be in Paris 
to-morrow?" and she added that every British subject 
there was hastening away as fast as post-horses could be 
procured, which was attended with much difficulty and 
delay. Thunderstruck at this information, for not a word 
even of Napoleon's escape from Elba was known two days 
before at Brussels, we immediately stopped ; and as soon 
as we could procure change of horses we proceeded to 
Cambray. Here the party separated : Mrs. and the Misses 
Atchison escorted by the two baronets leisurely proceeded 
to Brussels ; Lord Bury and I shaped our course with all 
speed for Ostend, on our way to England. We were 
detained at Cambray until towards dark by the difficulty 
of procuring post-horses ; but just as we were about to set 
forward, a French officer carrying, as he stated, despatches 
of utmost importance, galloped into the yard, his steed 
covered with foam. He immediately demanded a horse, 
and the authority which he carried left the postmaster no 
choice ; he immediately provided one. I asked the officer 
a few questions as to the sentiments entertained in the 
capital and of the nature of his despatches, but I could 
procure no direct reply. As I was getting into Lord 
Bury's cabriolet, with his lordship and his private servant, 
I chanced to mention that our route lay through Lisle, 
when the man of despatch at length opened his mouthy 
saying that he also was bound for Lisle, and that if we 
would take him into our carriage and let the servant ride 
his horse, he would engage to pass us through the different 
enclosed towns which lay in our route, at which without 
his intervention we should be detained if arriving after 
dark. This proposal was made in consequence of the 
inclemency of the weather, which was tremendous,, 
incessant heavy rain, accompanied with high winds,. 


thunder and awful lightning. Though Bury felt reluctant 
to expose his servant to the raging elements, yet our great 
anxiety to get clear of the French territory overcame every 
other consideration. 

During our progress I asked our new companion many 
questions, but he would appear much fatigued and slept, or 
feigned to sleep, the greater part of the time ; however^ 
he kept his word in passing us through the towns. On 
presenting his credentials the drawbridges were dropped, 
we entered, changed horses and passed on without our 
passports being looked at until we arrived at Lisle. Here 
our companion left us with scant ceremony. Being no 
longer under the protection of the man of despatch and 
having arrived after dark, we were not permitted to leave 
the fortress until morning. We afterwards learned that 
this officer, who sat so very comfortably in Lord Bury's 
carriage between two British officers, was at the time the 
bearer of disaffected despatches to induce the two Generals 
liallemande to declare in favour of Nai)oleon. 

Our night at Lisle was restless ; but fortunately we got 
off next morning without meeting any obstruction, and 
having soon entered the Belgian territory felt a degree of 
security which previously we considered very doubtful. 
Our feelings somewhat resembled those experienced by 
the Prince d'Arenberg after crossing the Spanish frontier 
into Portugal. 

Although now freed from dread of detention, yet we 
relaxed not in posting forward to Ostend. On arrival Lord 
Bury waited on General Vandeleur, commanding the British 
troops there, and related the circumstances attending our 
journey. The general was excessively astonished and 
appeared somewhat startled, not having had the slightest 
knowledge of Napoleon having left his island ; indeed he 


seemed rather incredulous. Bury requested that I should 
be sent for to the hotel, where I was making hasty pre- 
parations for our departure to England. On appearing, I 
confirmed Lord Bury's statement, adding that from all I 
could collect along our route, or rather flight, I felt 
perfectly convinced that Napoleon was at that moment in 
Paris. Courtesy, and I believe courtesy alone, induced the 
general no longer to appear incredulous. At the same 
time he begged us to be very cautious as to what we 
should say, for if what we had heard were true he would 
find himself in rather an embarrassing position among 
the Belgians, who seemed much inclined towards the 
government and person of Napoleon. 

Being politely dismissed by the general we proceeded 
to England, and landing at Ramsgate pushed forward to 
Canterbury. Here we halted for breakfast, when hundreds 
collected round the hotel since a report was spread that the 
Due de Berri had just arrived from France, whom they 
were anxious to behold ; but upon learning that it was the 
English Lord Bury, not His Royal Highness the French 
Due de Berri who had arrived, they retired rather dis- 
appointed. That night we arrived in London, but not a 
soul would give credence to our account ; and Napoleon 
was victoriously sitting on the throne of France and in the 
heart of the capital some days before even his departure 
from Elba was known in London. 

Immediately on my return I applied to Sir Henry 
Torrens for a staff appointment in the army of Belgium ; 
and I asked that, should His Royal Highness not have 
an opportunity of appointing me at present, he would be 
pleased to permit my proceeding there, as from my acquaint- 
ance with many general officers under whom I had had the 
honour of serving, I felt emboldened to think that I should 


be employed. This letter was written to Sir Henry Torrens 
at his own request ; but as he was a few days afterwards 
sent to Brussels to confer with the Duke of Wellington, 
I repeated my request to Lieutenant-Colonel Shaw, Military 
Secretary ad interim. To this application I received an 
answer to the effect that the commander-in-chief was 
sensible of my zeal for active service, but had no present 
opportunity of employing me on the staff, nor could he 
comply with my request for leave of absence. It may be 
necessary here to state that at that period a general order 
had been issued strictly prohibiting all officers on leave 
of absence from leaving the kingdom without the special 
permission of the commander-in-chief. My leave of 
absence which terminated on the 24th of the month was 
renewed as a matter of course, but not without the pro- 
hibition mentioned. 

My regiment being in Ireland and not ordered to the 
Netherlands, I still remained in London urging my request, 
but to no purpose. In the meantime the battle of Waterloo 
was fought ; and the 36th were ordered to reinforce the 
duke's army. I now procured permission to proceed direct 
from London. Major-General Sir William O'Callaghan 
was ordered out at the same time ; and as we had 
been intimately acquainted in the Peninsula, I now acted 
as his aide-de-camp. In this way I anticipated the arrival 
of the regiment in Paris by at least a month, which gave 
me full opportunity, uninterrupted by regimental duties, 
of examining the discipline, dress and movements of the 
different armies then in Paris, particularly as they passed 
in review order. 

This review was a splendid spectacle. Each crowned 
head of the powers engaged had nominally a regiment in 
the army of each brother sovereign ; and each in his turn 



marched past as colonel of his regiment, saluting with due 
military discipline the crowned head to whose army the 
regiment belonged. The Emperor Alexander wore his 
cocked hat square to the front, kept firm on his head by 
a black ribbon tied under his chin. When he saluted in 
marching past his chosen master, he shot his right arm 
at full length horizontally from his right shoulder, and 
then curving the arm with tolerable grace to the front 
he touched the upper part of his forehead with his hand, 
the fingers closed together and the palm turned downwards. 
His appearance was soldier-like ; yet he seemed not a hardy 
veteran, but rather a good-humoured, well-conditioned 
English yeoman than the representative of Peter the Great. 
Contentment, apparently uninterrupted by thought or reflec- 
tion, seemed to sit on his unruffled brow. The King of 
Prussia wore his hat fore and aft. In saluting he sent 
his right hand perpendicularly upwards, the palm turned 
towards his face, his fingers stiff and their tips brought 
suddenly against the point of his hat. Sullenness was 
portrayed on his countenance. His figure was tall ; but 
I saw nothing lofty about him save his station, which, had 
it not been hereditary, would never have been his. He 
was what we call in a horse wall-eyed. Nothing indicated 
the determined warrior, polished courtier or profound 
statesman ; and during the whole time in which I presumed 
to regard him I do not recollect that a single thought of 
the Great Frederick flashed on my mind. The Emperor 
Francis wore his hat neither square nor fore and aft ; the 
right cock was brought rather forward. In saluting, his 
right arm was slowly brought up to meet the fore part of 
his hat, to touch which his fingers were bent into a bunch. 
His stature was scarcely above the middle size, his face 
melancholy and overcast ; it did not appear to be that 


sullen melancholy which indicates disappointed ambition 
— it seemed rather to be produced by painful recollec- 
tions of happy scenes and feelings which, like blooming 
youth gone by, can never return. His deportment was 
that of an over-thoughtful, but an affable gentleman ; 
dejection he combated, but could not shake off; he would 
appear happy, but failed in the endeavour. His former 
deadly foe and conqueror (a fortunate revolutionist emerged 
from obscurity) was now united to the child of his affec- 
tions, the descendant of the Caesars. The overthrow of 
the one must drag down the other. Unwillingly then 
he drew his sword, for whatever he might have previously 
suffered he now made war against his daughter and her 
husband. These conflicting feelings must have harassed 
his very soul ; his position was cruelly embarrassing ; 
and it was impossible to witness his distress and not 
participate in his feelings. His appearance throughout 
proclaimed him an unwilling actor in the gorgeous show. 
He alone seemed to reflect that players sometimes act the 
part of kings, but that here the farce was reversed. 

It struck me as rather singular and wanting in delicacy 
that every band of music in the Austrian, Russian and 
Prussian armies, while they marched past the group of 
kings, played the tune by us called The Downfall of Paris ; 
but I subsequently learned that among the nations mentioned, 
as also in France, the music bore a quite different name 
and meaning. 

During these reviews the troops of the foreign nations 
marched from Paris through the Place Louis Quinze ; and 
passing through the Champs Elysees filed off into the 
suburbs. The last review, or rather march past, was by 
the British troops. The line of route was now reversed. 
Our troops, proudly following the tattered flags but upright 


standards of Britain, debonclied from the Champs ElyseeSj 
and after marching past filed through Paris. The music 
played at the head of every regiment was the inspiring 
tune " The British Grenadiers." The duke took his 
station close to the Place Louis Quinze, towards the entrance 
from the Champs Elys^es. He was dressed in the uniform 
of a British field-marshal ; he grasped a mamaluke sabre, 
the hand which held it resting on the pommel of his saddle. 
In this position he remained for some hours during the 
marching past of the troops ; and although he evidently 
saw all, yet he moved not at all ; and during the whole 
time (for I was near) even his sword moved not an inch 
from its original position. All the working was in his 
mind ; his body was absolutely still. 

As the British troops moved forward they called forth 
general admiration; and, candidly speaking, their appearance 
was splendid in the extreme. This opinion is not prompted 
by either partiality or prejudice ; but having had the 
opportunity of previously beholding the parade of the allied 
troops, all showing stage efiect rather than the free use 
of the limbs, I could not avoid noticing the contrast 
between them and the British soldiers, whose movements 
were in strict conformity with the intention of Providence 
in providing joints to be freely used for the easy carriage 
of the body. It was this manly, free and firm step which 
induced the Emperor Alexander after the reviews were 
over to declare that he would introduce the British dis- 
cipline and system of drill into his army, since the English 
movements were more in conformity with the natural struc- 
ture of man. Even the dress of the British soldier was 
calculated more for comfort and use than for mere outward 
appearance, and yet was far from being unseemly. 

The Russian troops appeared like rampant bears ; the 


Prussians like stuffed turkeys ; the slow-going Austrian s 
were in figure, countenance and appearance altogether 
characteristically Germanic ; the French, from their being 
well inured to fire and moving with such little up-and- 
down steps making but little progress to the front, brought 
to mind that species of animal called turnspit in the active 
performance of his duty. But the object of general regard, 
and that which attracted the attention of all, was the hero 
who led the British troops through an unparalleled series 
of brilliant campaigns and victorious battles. The all- 
seeing eagle eye which illumined his countenance, the 
aquiline nose which stamps talent on the countenance of 
man, together with the peculiar length of upper lip, marked 
him apart. In all he seemed the Roman of old — save 
in pomp. 

Shortly after the reviews the 36th Regiment arrived 
in Paris, and on the same day Sir William O'Callaghan's 
aide-de-camp, his nephew, Captain Colthurst, made his 
appearance. The general being thus provided, I joined 
my regiment. We were quartered at Montmartre, the 
theatre of Marmont's fidelity. Subsequently we encamped 
in the Bois de Boulogne ; thence we moved into cantonments 
not far distant from Versailles. A part of the regiment were 
quartered in the Chateau of the Postmaster-General of 
France. His history so far as it relates to his attachment 
to Napoleon, his imprisonment and the mode of his escape 
aided by a British general officer lately reinstated in rank, 
is already well known. 

Towards the close of December 1815 the regiment was 
ordered home. We passed through Paris on the day that 
Marshal Ney was shot ; whether our presence there during 
that melancholy occasion was accidental or designed I 
cannot say, but it was probably designed. His death was 


worthy of his former undaunted character, which gained 
him the title of " Le brave des braves." Disdaining to 
have his eyes bandaged he commanded the soldiers 
appointed for his execution to fire ; and shedding bitter 
tears they obeyed his order, by which France was deprived 
of the bravest and brightest genius who ever led her armies 
to victory. On the second restoration of Louis XVIII. a 
general pardon was granted by proclamation in his name 
to all French subjects then residing in Paris ; but by a 
strange construction of words it was argued that Ney was 
not included, although at the time he did reside in Paris, 
if a soldier be considered as ever residing anywhere. 

Soult, although he fought in the ranks of Napoleon at 
Waterloo, yet made so noble a defence that the Due de 
Eichelieu durst not push the prosecution ; yet His Grace 
declared that it would be an abuse of mercy to pardon Ney. 
He was found guilty of high treason, upon which verdict 
he was executed. But against whom or what was the 
treason ? Not against France, in whose defence or for 
whose aggrandisement he fought five hundred battles, and 
never drew his sword against her. His treason then 
consisted in his unfortunate choice of allegiance between 
two individuals : one, the Emperor selected by the French 
nation and under whose standard all the armies of France 
were ranged ; the other a king indeed but a nominal one, 
a king who fled his country on the approach of a foreign 
invader, as Napoleon actually was on coming from the 
Island of Elba. This king too was opposed by the nation 
upon whom he was foisted, as he himself gratefully but 
imprudently proclaimed by declaring that next to God 
he owed his crown to the Prince Regent of England. This 
insult to his countrymen was deeply felt all through France, 
and cannot be more forcibly expressed than by the manner 


in which the French at the time proclaimed him as " Lonis 
XVIIL, King of France and Navarre, by the grace of three 
hundred thousand foreign bayonets." As traitor against 
this king, Ney was executed ; but, had he been spared, 
the monarch's crown would have been the brighter, and the 
bravest of the brave have been spared to his country. 

In our route to Calais the detachment of the regiment 
to which I belonged passed through the village of Cre^y, 
where we halted for a day. Natural curiosity, not unmixed 
with national pride, induced some of us to visit the plains 
glorious to Edward III. and the Black Prince. Our guide 
pointed out the little tower in which the victorious Edward 
is stated to have taken post during the battle ; it had all 
the appearance of having been a windmill. The glorious 
days of the Edwards and Henrys flashed on our imagina- 
tions : days when the warlike monarchs led their gallant 
troops in person and by their heroic example fired them to 
deeds of glory ; days when personal merit was promptly 
and impartially rewarded. Rewards for gallant deeds of 
arms did not then depend upon a county election. The 
chief who witnessed and who consequently could best jadge 
possessed the power to reward without reference to the 
jarring interests of voters at home. 

On surveying the extensive plain, our guide pointed out a 
mound, distant from the windmill about two miles. Here 
it was, he said, that the French army made their last 
desperate effort. A small chapel is built on the site, called 
" La Chapelle des Trois Cents Corps Nobles," to commemo- 
rate the fact that where the chapel stands three hundred 
nobles of the contending armies fighting fell. On returning 
to our billets I signified to the man of the house my wish 
to visit the hallowed spot next morning, as it was then 
too late in the day. Upon this our good host entertained 


US with many legendary tales of the chapel, and said 
amongst other things that the door could never be kept 
shut. My evident incredulity rather displeasing him, he 
protested most solemnly that bolts and locks had been 
repeatedly put on the door to endeavour to keep it shut, 
but to no purpose : it was always found wide open in the 
morning ; and as to watching it, none could be found 
sufficiently daring to make the attempt. Notwithstanding 
the solemn assertions of our good host, I told him that I 
was determined to proceed to the chapel next morning and 
shut myself within its mysterious walls. When he had 
used many arguments to dissuade me from my purpose 
but found me still determined, he remarked that there was 
one difficulty in my shutting myself up there, since, in 
in consequence of the fact that the chapel could never be 
kept closed, it had been without a door for more than a 
century. Much disappointed, but still perceiving by the 
solemn manner of my host that his account of the chapel 
was not intended as a jest, I told him that I should 
certainly go there next morning and nail a blanket against 
the doorway, to witness the consequence of closing the 
chapel ; and this foolish act I was determined to carry 
into execution, but as we received orders that night to 
continue our march at daybreak next morning, my quixotic 
enterprise was frustrated. The impossibility of closing 
the chapel was religiously believed by every inhabitant of 
the place, not excluding the parish priest. 

We embarked at Calais and descended at Ramsgate and 
Dover, and thence proceeded overland to Portsmouth, which 
we garrisoned until the year 1817, when we embarked for 
the Island of Malta. 



TN 1819 I procured leave of absence to proceed to 
-^ England ; and in tliis year I repeated my visit to 
Brussels. I found Prince Prosper at home and received 
the most marked attention from the old duke, his father. 
Here it may not be irrelevant to mention that Napoleon, 
as contributing to fortify his unwieldy empire, insisted on 
the Prince Prosper marrying a Miss Tacher, a niece of 
Josephine, and transferred to him his father's title, Duke 
d'Arenberg, at the same time by a similar arbitrary act 
compelling the old unduked duke to assume the title 
of a baron of the French empire. This was one of 
Napoleon's master strokes of policy. Prince Prosper was 
now married to his second wife having been previously 
divorced from his first duchess, Miss Tacher that was, to 
whom the mustachios had been sent from Lisbon. 

At the old duke's table I had always a cover ; and a 
groom and a pair of horses were exclusively at my service. 
The duke was a remarkably fine old man, but had been blind 
for many years when I had the honour of making his 
acquaintance. The calamity occurred through the following 
lamentable circumstance. At his father's house, celebrated 
for hospitality, a large party of friends were entertained, 
for whose greater amusement rural sports were resorted 



to. The wild-boar hunt was generally selected, .in which 
the duke, then a young man, took great delight ; but as 
one of the guests, who was charge d'affaires of the British 
Court, expressed an unwillingness to join in the boar hunt, 
preferring partridge-shooting, the young duke in courtesy 
gave up his favourite amusement and joined his friend, 
for whom he entertained the greatest esteem. All being 
arranged, the parties set forth, and on their arrival at 
Enghien, a considerable estate belonging to the duke about 
fi ve-and-twenty miles from Brussels, the sport began. The 
duke took his station behind a hedge ; and his English 
friend screened himself behind a neighbouring fence. The 
cover being veiy close, beaters were sent in to drive out 
the birds, as in woodcock-shooting in England. A rustling 
sound being heard by the Englishman, who had the boar 
hunt, which took place in the same parts, still in his mind, 
he fired through the fence and lodged the contents of 
his gun in the face of his friend. At a cry of distress from 
the duke, the Englishman broke his way through the 
fence, when fancy his horror at perceiving his dear friend 
prostrate on the ground, his figure recognised, but all 
his features disguised by blood and his eyes incapable of 
seeing his agonised friend. Nearly frantic at witnessing 
the dreadful result of his incautious fire, he holloaed out 
for assistance ; and on the arrival of some domestics he 
instantly ran into the town of Enghien, and ordering a 
postchaise drove off to Brussels, nor stopped he, except 
to change horses, until he arrived at Ostend, where he 
instantly embarked for England, never again to return 
to the Netherlands. The two faithful friends never more 
beheld each other, one because he was blind, the other on 
account of a horror which he could never overcome. The 
duke was carried to Brussels and the first medical aid 


which the Netherlands could produce immediately consulted. 
The most eminent physicians and surgeons of France and 
England were sent for, but to no purpose — the vision was 
for ever destroyed. 

During my visit at Brussels, by the duke's desire, I 
passed a few days at Enghien. Being alone, I was enter- 
tained by an old family steward, who always resided there. 
The family mansion having been burnt, its place was 
supplied by two handsome pavilions. The old domestic, 
who had been previously advised of my visit, was the 
most respectable person for his station whom I ever met ; 
in truth, he appeared a perfect gentleman of the old school, 
as well in dress as in address. Nearly seventy chill 
winters must have passed over his head, but although 
those rigid seasons left many a rough stamp behind, his 
sympathy and warm heart gave ample testimony that an 
equal number of genial summers had done their part. His 
white hair was bound with black ribbons and formed a 
massy queue, extending some way down his shoulders ; 
yet, silvered as were his venerable locks, he was highly 
powdered too, — this always gives a peculiarly dressy appear- 
ance. His coat was of the old-fashioned cut, sloping 
backwards from the lower part of the breast to the 
extremity of the skirts and bearing large steel buttons. 
His waistcoat was of a similar cut, having long low- 
flapped pockets, below which were short velvet breeches, 
black silk stockings and polished shoes with large silver 
buckles. To be attended by such a personage during 
dinner distressed me very much. I should have felt more 
easy if in place of serving he had sat down and borne 
me company ; this I proposed, but no remonstrance of 
mine could prevail upon him to acquiesce. He remarked 
that he could never so far forget his duty and respect as 


to sit at the same table with his lord's guest, and moreover 
that I should be without the attendance which he had 
received orders to give. I then proposed that the young lad 
;who always rode after me should wait. To this he objected, 
unless I ordered it, which I declined to do, perceiving 
by a half-muttered expression that it would be indecorous 
to introduce a stable groom into the dining-room. After 
dinner, which I hurried over, I insisted on his placing a 
second wineglass and obliged him to sit down, Stating that 
there were many circumstances relative to his lord with 
which I wished to become acquainted, and for which I 
had the duke's authority. This he considered as a mandate 
a,nd sat down ; yet such was the distance at which he 
placed his chair from the table that he imposed upon 
himself the obligation of standing up whenever I prevailed 
upon him to take his glass of the good wine, which I 
had always to pour out for him. 

During my stay at Enghien this respectable gentleman- 
butler related many anecdotes of gallant deeds performed 
by the Dukes d'Arenberg, but as was natural dwelt 
most upon those scenes which took place in his own time. 
Next morning he conducted me to the spot where the fatal 
accident deprived his lord of sight. The old man was 
of the shooting party ; and with tears in his eyes he 
described the whole scene most minutely and pathetically. 
Having seen all the grounds, I returned to the pavilion ; 
but on that day too I could not prevail on the old man 
to sit down to dinner, and finding him inflexible and 
being hurt at seeing so old and so respectable a person 
on his legs whilst I sat at dinner, I determined to depart 
next morning. On coming away I cordially shook the 
good old man by the hand, and would most willingly have 
made some donation, but I could not presume to offer him 


money, knowing how much, it would hurt him; I should 
as soon have offered such an affront to the duke. 

When I returned to Brussels the good old duke asked 
me with the greatest coolness if I had seen the spot 
where he was deprived of sight. He seemed to treat the 
circumstance with perfect indifference ; but he evidently 
felt great emotion whenever the name of his unhappy friend 
was mentioned, and I repeatedly heard him say, " My 
poor friend I he suffers more than I do." Some years 
after the accident took place the duke visited England^ 
and calling upon his friend, who happened to be out, left 
his name and address. When the other returned and saw 
the duke's card, he instantly ordered post-horses and 
departed for Italy, not being able to summon fortitude 
sufficient to encounter that friend whom he so highly 
prized. The duke suffered much by this disappointment ; 
for although deprived of the power of seeing him, still 
it would have afforded him the greatest consolation to 
press to his bosom the friend whom he now more than 
ever esteemed. Not long after the duke travelled into 
Italy, where he was doomed to experience a similar 
disappointment. Happening to visit the same town in 
which his friend was living for a time, he paid him a 
visit, but not finding him at home did not leave his card, 
as he hoped to meet him another time ; but when the 
friend returned and heard from his servant a description 
of the caller, he instantly set out for England. They 
never met after the sad accident ; and they both departed 
this life nearly at the same moment. 

During the duke's sojourn in England he ordered a 
machine to be made entirely imagined by himself, which 
in his lamentable state enabled him to play at whist, a 
game to which he was very partial and which afterwards. 


principally contributed to bis amusement. It was a small 
mabogany box about eigbteen incbes long, six incbes deep, 
and tbe same in breadtb ; it screwed under tbe leaf of 
tbe table in front of wbere tbe duke sat to play ; in its 
side were four rows or little cbannels, and in eacb cbannel 
were tbirteen boles corresponding witb tbe number of cards 
in eacb suit ; in eacb of tbese boles was a movable peg, 
wbicb could be pusbed in or pulled out. Tbe pack being 
dealt out, a page, wbo sat close to tbe duke, sorted bis 
cards, placing tbem in suits and in order of value from 
left to rigbt, eacb suit being separated from tbe otbers 
by tbe duke's fingers, between wbicb tbey were placed 
by tbe page. Beginning from tbe left witb spades, bearts, 
diamonds and clubs in order, tbe peg corresponding witb 
eacb card in tbe duke's band was drawn out, so tbat tbe 
duke passing bis fingers over tbe macbine learned eacb 
card in bis band by means of tbe corresponding peg. 
Eacb of tbe otber players named tbe card wbicb be played. 
For instance, tbe person sitting on tbe left of tbe duke said, 
'* I play tbe seven of bearts " ; tbe next, " I play tbe ten " ; 
tbe tbird, " I play tbe queen," wben tbe duke exclaimed, 
" And I play tbe king," and infallibly down came tbe 
king. I never saw bim make a mistake. Wben be bad 
played a card be pusbed in tbe peg corresponding to tbat 
card. On one occasion baving bad tbe bonour of being 
bis partner against tbe Marquis de Grimelle and anotber, 
I won a napoleon, wbicb I bored and kept in memory of 
baving won it witb a partner totally deprived of sigbt. 
The duke was mucb pleased at my doing so. 

Tbe duke entertained in princely style. His table 
displayed tbe choicest viands, tbe rarest productions of 
tbe seasons and tbe most exquisite wines. I remarked 
tbat on fast-days tbere was a particular kind of wbite soup 


always placed before the abbe who was attached to the 
family. Curiosity induced me to ask Prince Prosper, next 
to whom I always sat, of what this select soup consisted. 
The prince replied in a suppressed tone of voice that it 
was extracted from frogs ; " For," said he, " the (Church 
has decided that those animals are not to be considered 
as flesh : but yet, since the soup thus produced is not 
sufficiently rich, a couple of pounds of veal are added ; 
and although he is fully aware of the deception practised, 
the abb6 is so good a person that he pardons the cook 
and absolves him from all sin." 

My leave of absence allowing me to remain no longer 
at Brussels, I returned to England. At parting, the good, 
the truly noble old duke presented me with a letter 
of introduction recommending me to the protection of 
H.R.H. the Duke of Kent ; and although, as I have 
stated, he had been blind for many years, yet I saw 
him write the concluding one or two lines and subscribe 
his name to this letter. 

On my arrival in London, finding that the Duke of Kent 
was then at Sidmouth, I presumed to write to him, enclosing 
Duke d'Arenberg's letter. In my letter to His Royal 
Highness I gave a short summary of my services, at the 
same time stating that an introductory letter from so 
humble an individual as myself to a personage of such 
exalted rank could have no other object than that of 
soliciting His Royal Highness's protection in forwarding 
my military promotion. By return of post I was honoured 
with the following reply : 

'♦ Sidmouth, January 8^Zf, 1820. 

" The Duke of Kent was favoured last night with Captain 
Blakeney's letter of the 6th instant, including one from his 
esteemed and illustiious friend the Duke d'Arenberg, and he 


feels anxious not to lose a moment in assuring Captain Blakeney 
that if he possessed the means or influence necessary to expedite 
his promotion they should instantly be exerted to the utmost 
in his behalf both from the friendship and esteem he bears the 
good duke through whom he has been introduced to him, and 
from conceiving Captain Blakeney's statement of his services 
to warrant his friendly interference in his behalf ; but the fact 
is that the duke cannot interfere with any point regarding army 
promotion beyond the limits of his own corps, the Royal Scots, 
in which, from the circumstance of its having been during the 
whole war double the strength of any other regiment, there are 
too many claimants upon him for long and faithful services for 
it to be in his power to hold out the slightest expectation to 
Captain Blakeney of being able to bring him into that corps. 
This he can assure the captain is a matter of real regret to him, 
and he trusts when he says so that Captain Blakeney will give 
him credit for his sincerity. In concluding this letter, the duke 
feels it an act of justice to the good Duke d'Arenberg to observe 
that it is impossible for any gentleman to plead more warmly 
the cause of another than His Serene Highness has that of 
Captain Blakeney, or to state more strongly the obligations he 
owes him for his liberal and friendly conduct towards the Prince 
Prosper whilst that nobleman was a prisoner of war under his 
charge. If Captain Blakeney should happen to be in town when 
the duke returns to Kensington, which will probably be the 
end of March or beginning of April, the duke will have great 
pleasure in receiving him and in explaining the matter more 
fully to him viva voce than it is possible for him to do in a 
letter, however extended the length of it might be. Should 
Captain Blakeney have occasion to address the duke again 
previous to his arrival, he is requested to leave his letter at 
Messrs. Kirklands, No. 88, Bennet Street, St. James's. 

" Captain Blakeney, ZQth Eegiment." 

I scarcely need say that such a letter as this from the 
son of my Sovereign was to me most highly flattering, 
and on it was founded the delusive expectation of presenting 


myself before His Royal Higliness and verifying the 
statement of my services as advanced in my letter. I 
applied at the Horse Guards for copies of the different 
recommendations forwarded from time to time in my favour 
by general and other officers, as well as of those which 
accompanied my memorial presented to H.R.H. the Duke 
of York in 1814. These were very liberally given to me, 
and are as follows : 

From the Right Honourable General Lord 
Lynedogh, G.C.B. 

'•ISLA DB Leon, March 30^, 181L 
" Sir, — I have the honour to state to you that I have just 
received a report from Lieutenant- Colonel Browne of the 
28th Regiment, who commanded the flank battalion which so 
greatly distinguished itself in the action of the 5th instant 
(i.e., at Barossa), of the eminent services of this officer. All 
the other officers of the regiment left wounded, and himself 
severely hurt by a contusion, he continued to animate and keep 
the men of those companies together during the hottest fire, 
giving the lieutenant-colonel the most essential assistance. 
As Lieutenant Blakeney is a lieutenant of July 1805, I trust 
this statement will be most favourably considered by the 
commander-in-chief, and that this officer will soon reap the 
reward of such distinguished conduct. 

'*I have the honour, etc., etc., etc., 
"Thomas Graham, 
" Lieutenant-General. 
"Colonel Torrens, Militaiy Secretary." 

From the Honourable Colonel Abercrombie, C.B. 

"Albuquerque, November 20th, 1811. 
" Sir, — I have the honour to enclose to you herewith a 
memorial which has been transmitted to me by Lieutenant 
Blakeney belonging to the battalion under my command, and 



which I request you will be good enough to forward to Major- 
General Howard. 

"As far as I had an opportunity of judging of the merits 
of Lieutenant Blakeney, I have every reason to be well satisfied 
mth him as an officer of great zeal and activity. His exertions 
at the battle of Barossa obtained him the approbation of 
Lieutenant -General Graham, by whom he was recommended 
to the commander-in-chief for promotion. 

" His conduct also in the late action with the enemy at 
Arroyo de Molinos was very conspicuous, and did not, I believe, 
pass unnoticed by Lieutenant- General Hill. 

" I have the honour to be, etc., etc., etc., 

" Alexander Abercrombie, 
*' Lieute7iant' Colonel 2^th Regiment. 

" Colonel Wilson, etc., etc., etc., commanding the BHgade." 

From the Right Honourable General Lord Hill, G.C.B. 

"PORTALEGRE, November 2ith, 1811. 
" My Lord, — I had an opportunity of witnessing Lieutenant 
Blakeney's zeal and gallantry at the head of the light infantry 
which formed the advance guard of General Howard's column 
at Arroyo de Molinos on the 28th ultimo. I have therefore 
much pleasure in forwarding and recommending his memorial 
heremth enclosed. 

" I have the honour to be, etc., etc., etc., 

" R, Hill, 
" Lieutenant-General. 
"Lord Fitzroy Somerset, Military Secretary" 

From Lieutenant-Colonel Browne, C.B., late 2Stk 
Regiment, commanding 66tk Regiment. 

" Sheernbss, October Wi, 1814. 

" My dear Blakeney, — I have to acknowledge yours of the 

28th ultimo, and am happy to bear testimony to your gallant 

conduct as an officer whenever an opportunity offered, which 

was conspicuous in the battle of Barossa, so much so that it 


was the cause of my recommending you to the protection of 
Sir Thomas Graham. And believe me, my dear Blakeney, your 
ever sincere friend, 

"T. F. Browne. 
"Captain Blakeney, d6th Regiment.^' 

Fkom Lieutenant-Colonel Cross, C.B. 

" Kilkenny, August 2'ird, 1814. 
"Sir, — Understanding that Captain Blakeney is about 
memorialising His Royal Highness the Commander-in-chief 
for the rank of major in the army, founding his claims on his 
services and wounds, I have great pleasure in bearing testimony 
to the fact of his having twice volunteered to serve with this 
battalion in the Peninsula before he was effective; and that 
upon every occasion after his joining that the regiment was in 
fire his conduct was highly meritorious, and his gallantry when 
it was the proud lot of the battalion to charge and carry the 
enemy's redoubt on the heights of Andaya on November 10th 
was most conspicuous; and on this occasion it was his great 
misfortune to receive the severe wound under which he is still 
suffering, and I accordingly with great respect presume to 
recommend his case to the favourable consideration of His Eoyal 
Highness the Commander-in-chief. 

" I have the honour to be, 
" William Cross, 
" Ideutencmt- Colonel 3Qth Eegiment, 

" Major-General Torrens, Military Secretary." 

From Major-General Sir Charles Belson, K.C.B. 
"Fermoy Barracks, Augmt 12nd^ 1814. 
" Sir, — Captain Blakeney of the 36th Regiment (late of the 
28th Regiment) having written to me for testimonials of his 
services whilst under my command, to be submitted to you, I 
have the honour of stating that he entered into the 28tb 
Regiment very young, and that he served with it until March 
1812 in the campaign under the late Sir John Moore, on that 
retreat and at the battle of Corunna. He was in the light 


company, and distinguished himself particularly at the Bridge 
of Betanzos. His conduct was also conspicuous at Arroyo de 
Molinos, and was noticed by Lieutenant- General Lord Hill upon 
that occasion. I beg to add that he is an officer who will put 
himself forward and distinguish himself whenever he may be 
employed, and to recommend him for such reward or promotion 
as His Royal Highness the Commander-in-chief may be pleased 
to grant. 

** I have the honour to be, etc., etc., etc., 

"C. Belson, 
** Lieutenant- Colonel, commanding 28<^ Regiment 
" Ma jor-General Torrens, Military Secretary" 

The above letter, which was enclosed to me, was accom- 
panied with a note containing the following few words : 

" My dear Blakbney, — I hope the enclosed will answer your 
purpose (and in justice I could say no less) to promote your 
wishes. I have not time to say more. 

"Your friend, 
"C. Belson. 

" P.S. — The first troops that leave this country will be your 
old friends, the 28th." 

The above strong testimonials I never had an opportunity 
of presenting to the illustrious personage for whose perusal 
they were intended. The Duke of Kent did not survive 
to return to the capital. His Royal Highness expired at 
Sidmouth, the place from which he did me the honour of 
writing the letter quoted, the last perhaps which he ever 
either penned or dictated. Thus in the general calamity 
which afflicted the nation by the death of His Royal 
Highness, I was in common with the whole of my fellow 
subjects doomed to mourn a great national loss ; and for 
myself deplored the untimely fate of a royal and generous 
prince, who would have extended his protection to me, as 
his letter, I think, clearly demonstrated. 


In the early part of the year 1820 a partial brevet took 
place to reward meritorious officers, whose names through 
oversight had been passed over. I presented myself to 
H.R.H. the Duke of York, and asked to be included. 
His Royal Highness replied that the partial promotion 
contemplated was intended as a reward for services 
performed in the field. I took the liberty of remark- 
ing that it was for services performed in the field I 
applied for promotion, adding that 1 should not value 
promotion otherwise obtained. The duke then said that 
in mentioning services overlooked, allusion was made to 
those officers whose names were mentioned in despatches. 
In reply I felt emboldened to remark that, although my name 
was not mentioned in despatches, yet, besides other strong 
testimonials, I was strongly recommended for distinguished 
conduct in two different actions by the generals who 
respectively commanded in each, than whom the British 
Army cannot boast more brilliant military characters — 
Lords Hill and Lynedoch. His Royal Highness was 
pleased to make a pencil note, and bowed. I retired ; and 
of the import of that note I remain to this day ignorant, 
as I never had further communication on the subject. 

During my interview with the Commander-in-chief I 
presented the Duke of Kent's letter, which was returned 
next day without comment. Against the presentation 
of this letter I was strongly advised ; but guided by my 
own sentiments and feelings, I would not be dissuaded. 
I considered that whatever difference of opinion might 
have subsisted between the illustrious personages, all 
unfriendly feelings would cease in the breast of the survivor. 
Yet, though I felt chagrin at the little notice taken of 
His Royal Highness's letter, I consoled myself a little with 
the thouojht that the infant Princess Victoria, coming in 


nature's course to the throne, might perhaps be pleased 
to take into consideration that which her royal sire had 
expressed so much anxiety to promote. But the royal 
brothers now lie side by side in peace, and so close that 

"The vet'ran's sigh, to gallant York that's sent, 
GHdes trembling o'er the breast of virtuous Kent"; 

and the time has gone by for vexing either with my 



T^ISAPPOINTED in all my well-founded hopes, for 
^^ such I thought them, I departed to rejoin my 
regiment at Malta. Landing at Calais, I proceeded to 
Paris and thence continued my route to Marseilles. On 
the day we arrived at Avignon, where a large garrison 
was stationed, it happened that the commandant dined at 
the table cPhote. I sat opposite to him, conversing with a 
young Spanish nobleman attached to the Spanish Embassy 
at the British Court, who took this route to return to 
Spain. Having met him in the diligence, I had soon 
discovered him to be a Spaniard, and in his language our 
discourse was maintained. During dinner the Peninsular 
campaigns became the topic of general conversation, in 
which I joined with the commandant, whom I soon 
recognised as an old opponent. He did not recognise me. 
Nine years had elapsed since our last meeting ; he saw 
me walking lame into the room ; and I was in mailcoach 
trim. HavingI with apparent carelessness asked him if 
he knew the Prince Prosper d'Arenberg, he answered 
in the affirmative, and that they were particular friends. 
He added that they were both taken prisoners in the same 
action. He then asked if I had been in Spain during the 
period of the campaigns. I said yes, when he remarked 
that perhaps I was in the Spanish Service. I told him 


36o I MAKE MY BOW. [Ch. 

that then, as well as now, I served in the British army. 
He asked if I were an Englishman ; and when I said 
yes, he remarked in that complimentary strain peculiar to 
well-bred Frenchmen, that one rarely meets an individual 
speaking the languages of three different nations and with 
such exactness as to pass for a native of each. The Spanish 
attacM, not to be second in courtesy, attested the justice 
of the assertion so far as it related to Spanish, declaring 
that until that moment he took me for his countryman. 
The commandant then broke into the Spanish language, 
which, to say the truth, he spoke far from well ; nor did 
I ever meet a Frenchman who could speak it without 
causing a smile from his auditors. Continuing his broken 
and ill-pronounced Spanish, at which the attacM smiled 
and looked at me, the commandant said that he spoke 
in that language because he had taken me for a Spaniard, 
on which I replied that for a similar reason I spoke to 
him in French. He instantly fixed his eye on my 
countenance ; he was beginning to recognise me. He then 
quickly asked me if I knew Lord Hill ; and where I first 
became acquainted with Prince Prosper. I told him that 
I had the honour of knowing his lordship, and that my 
first acquaintance with the prince was at Arroyo Molinos 
in Spain. His eyes now opened wide and with apparent 
emotion he asked if he might take the liberty of asking 
my name, which I had no sooner mentioned than, starting 
from his chair and striding round to where I sat, to the 
no small astonishment of all present, he embraced me 
warmly, saying that he would not kiss me, for he had not 
forgotten Lisbon. He now presented me to the whole 
company, which was numerous, as the British officer who 
made him prisoner, and whom he had so often mentioned 
as a "grand petit diable." He went on to tell how he 


was made prisoner ; bnt this I decline to repeat, as it was 
rather too florid in description and too flattering to me, 
I will pnt it briefly and in plainer words. 

It may be remembered that in the action of Arroyo 
Molinos, on October 28th, 1811, 1 jumped over the wall, 
through a breach in which the head of the French 
column had passed and the rest were following. Before 
my leap I had noticed a martial figure nobly mounted, 
evidently the chief of a corps, leading on the French 40th 
Regiment of the line. He was not more than five or six 
paces from the breach, while I was from ten to twelve 
yards from it. Perceiving that he must pass through 
before I could come up, wild with excitement and conscious 
also that the commanding general was looking on, I rode 
at the wall, and having cleared it instantly turned round 
to the breach into which Colonel Voirol had just entered 
and was passing through. We met face to face and 
instantly commenced a martial duet. We were both 
superbly mounted, but the rocky nature of the ground 
was such that our horses were totally unmanageable. We 
soon fell, or rather dragged each other to the ground, 
when, true to the immutable laws of nature, I as the 
lighter and more trivial remained uppermost. On falling, 
I must instantly have been forked to death by the many 
Frenchmen around me ; but all were too intent on flight 
to look to others, and immediately after Voirol and I 
came to the ground the most advanced soldiers of the 
28th and 34th Light Companies charged through the 
opening in the wall, as I have before described. General 
Howard (now Lord Howard of Effingham) coming up, I 
said, " General, here is a colonel for you ; take him in charge. 
I cannot stop ; I must go on with the light bobs." In the 
encounter I had received a blow on the head, which knocked 

362 I MAKE MY BOW. [Ch. 

off my cap and set it rolling down the rocks. I pushed 
on bareheaded till I picked up a French foraging cap. 
After we returned in the evening from the pursuit of the 
fugitives, I found both my horse and cap. This was the 
scuffle which I mentioned in describing the battle ; and 
I now detail the circumstances, because my captive now 
supported my story, which critics might pronounce absurd, 
of an individual scuffling with a whole column. 

The commandant, Colonel Yoirol, was as fine, upright 
and soldierlike a person as could be seen, measuring 
upwards of six feet in height and proportionally well 
built in every respect. His antagonist of Arroyo Molinos, 
besides being of slight figure, was beneath the colonel in 
stature by some inches ; therefore it was perhaps that 
during his description of the manner in which he was made 
prisoner, he was scanned with dubious glance by all. The 
natives of France look with a very jealous eye upon any 
foreigner whose martial prowess is put in competition with 
that of the " Grande Nation Militaire." This feeling was 
still more apparent among the ladies, of whom there were 
many present ; for the women of France feel if possible 
more enthusiastic for military greatness than even the men ; 
and comparing battles with what they read of tournaments 
in romances, fancy that tall and robust figures must be 
invulnerable against any of slighter mould. But Voirol's 
gallantry was too well established in the French Army to 
suffer from the misconception of table cThSte critics. 

My gallant old friend cordially pressed me to remain 
with him for at least a few days ; but as I was travelling 
by diligence and my leave already expired, I felt compelled 
to decline his hospitality ; and I determined to depart after 
dinner, not having time even to visit the hallowed shrine 
where Petrarch mourned in pathetic numbers his incredible 


love for the wrinkled old wife of another. But poetiy must 
have some object, real or ideal, in view to keep excitement 
continually on the stretch. The hour of departure being 
announced by the conductear, the commandant accompanied 
me to the door of the diligence, and again cordially shaking 
hands I departed for Marseilles, where I embarked for 
that military hotbed, Malta. 

Some time after my arrival I was visited by a most 
severe attack of ophthalmia. My right eye became more 
like a ball of fire than an organ of vision ; the dreadful 
pain in my head entirely banished sleep for so long a period 
that I dread to mention it. I heard the clock of St. John's 
Church strike every hour and half hour, day and night, for 
a period of two months. I was bled, blistered and physicked 
to the last extremity, and bathed in warm baths until I 
often fainted from weakness ; in addition to this, I had 
one hundred and ninety-five leeches applied inside and 
outside the eyelids. However, through a strong natural 
constitution I recovered; and by the unremitting care of 
Staff-surgeon Lindsay and Assistant Staff- surgeon Kennedy, 
who attended me, the ball of the eye was preserved, but 
its vision was lost. In consequence of this loss His 
Majesty was graciously pleased to grant me a pension. 

In 1 822 the regiment was removed to the Ionian Islands ; 
having remained there until 1826 we were ordered home ; 
and on arriving in England we moved into Lancashire. 
Soon after this the regiment was ordered to Ireland, and 
landed at Dublin, where we did garrison duty for some 

At this time I was directed to appear before the General 
Medical Board, to have, as I supposed, the pension granted 
me for the loss of vision confirmed ; but to my utter 
surprise it was discontinued, although the Medical Boai-d, 

364 I MAKE MY BOW. [Ch. 

as also the certificate of Doctor Guthrie, the medical 
gentleman employed by Government in similar cases, 
attested the loss of nsefnl vision. Upon my waiting on 
the Secretary of War, I was given to understand that the 
Government had decided that no pensions should henceforth 
be granted for the loss of limb or other injury, except 
for actual wounds in the field. It is true that I had 
received neither a bayonet wound nor musket-ball in the 
eye ; but as a proof of the correctness of Doctor Guthrie's 
testimony, to this day (fourteen years since the injury took 
place) I am obliged, to enable me to see clearly with the 
left or sound eye, to close the defective one. But the 
Secretary of War may have fallen into error in giving his 
reasons for depriving me of the pension ; for persons were 
indicated to me who continued to receive pensions for 
injuries, though they were never wounded in their lives. 
However, I would not quote names, lest in so doing, for 
the purpose of strengthening my own claims, I might 
endanger the interests of others. 

The withdrawal of the pension disconcerted me much ; 
for fully relying on the royal grant being as permanent 
as the injury for which it was made, I had married a 
Venetian lady of the famous family of Balbi. The 
pension I had looked upon as some remuneration for my 
long and arduous services. 

Besides what I considered the injustice shown towards 
me throughout, there were other considerations which 
powerfully wrought on my feelings and rendered my position 
extremely irksome. I mounted the castle guard in 
Dublin as lieutenant in 1805 ; and now in 1828, after 
three and twenty years, I mounted the same guard as 
captain only. This was known and remarked by many 
friends and acquaintances ; it was known too that in 


the brilliant campaigns which took place in the interim 
I had been present and serving in two distinguished corps ; 
and I discovered, or fancied I discovered, something 
bordering on doubt as to my military character in the 
countenances of all who regarded me. To account for my 
non-advancement, or remove the doubts consequently 
entertained, was out of my power. Decorum prevented 
my entering into detail of my own services. To speak 
frankly, I was ashamed of my slender rank after such 
a length of service ; yet in conscience I could not accuse 
myself as the cause. 

But my severest ordeal was yet to come ; and to support 
this all my philosophy and long-tried patience were 
insufficient. After remaining some time in Dublin the 
regiment was ordered to MuUingar ; and here, as it would 
appear, my second childhood commenced. I was compelled 
to fall in with a squad composed of young officers, who 
for the most part entered the Service many years after 
H.E.H. the Commander-in-chief had noted my name for 
a majority, and with soldiers who knew not yet how to 
shoulder their firelocks. In this respectable company I 
was condemned to be taught how to march — a branch 
of military tuition from which I had considered myself 
emancipated at least twenty years before. In this ordeal 
I was chased through the barrack square by an ignorant 
disciple of Euclid, commonly called a dress sergeant, 
armed with a colossal pair of widely yawning com- 
passes. This scrutiny of my steps after I had carried a 
musket-ball in my leg for fourteen years ; after I had 
marched as a boy in one of the most distinguished 
regiments in the Service from Lisbon to Corunna, under 
the best drill and strictest disciplinarian in the army. Sir 
John Moore; after I had crossed and re-crossed Spain 

366 I MAKE MY BOW. [Ch. 

and Portugal in different directions without the mathe- 
matical precision of my paces having ever been found fault 
with ; — after all this, and after twenty-four years* service, 
to be brought up by a pair of compasses in the barrack 
square of Mullingar was an indignity which I imagine 
that human nature in its most subservient state could not, 
nay, should not willingly submit to. Disgusted by this 
Mullingar ordeal, which might be repeated again and again 
for the good of the Service^ I formed the determination 
of immediately retiring from that Service. Add to this 
contemptuous treatment of old officers the suppression of 
the old-established institutions of the corps ; the celebration 
of such martial fetes as the anniversary of the battles of 
Salamanca, Nivelle and Toulouse. Those were days upon 
which it was the custom of the regiment that all the men 
should wear the laurel, all the officers, whether married or 
single, should dine at the mess-table and guests be invited, 
thus giving an opportunity for those tales of war which 
transmit a noble martial feeling into the glowing breast 
of the aspiring young warrior who burns to prove the 
temper of his steel. Sentiments such as these glowed in 
the breasts of the young boys who joined the 28th Regiment 
in 1803, 1804, and 1805, while with suppressed breathing 
we rapturously listened to the old officers who lately 
returned from Egypt told of the gallant feats of arms 
they witnessed and shared, and so inspired us that our 
heated imaginations pictured soldiers in fight as of more 
than mortal size, and we longed " to follow to the field 
some warlike chief" to lead the way to glory. 

In the 28th Regiment the anniversaries of the battles 
in which the corps had served were strictly observed as 
days of jubilee and proud recollection. The month of 
March in particular was one of revelry in commemorating 


the battles fonght in Egypt on the 8th, 13th and 21st. The 
17th, the Feast of St. Patrick, was not forgotten ; and to 
these was subsequently added the 5th, the anniversary of 
the celebrated battle of Barossa ; so that in March we^ 
had five days of celebration, which filled our hearts with 
joy and on the following day our head with aches. The 
inspiring war-cry, " Remember Egypt ! *' was after the 
return from that country always used when leading inta 
action. The regiment may now use the names of many 
other places wherein they fought and distinguished them* 
selves ; but I doubt if the mention of any subsequent 
battle will act so powerfully on the minds of the men as 
the soul-stirring words, " Remember Egypt ! " and " The 
backplates ! " 

Why this war against old officers and long-established 
institutions ? On the return of the victorious army from 
the Peninsula and later from France, a crowd of Green 
Park martinets rushed into the Service, who, looking upon 
any distinction gained by others as a reflection on them- 
selves, seemed to be stimulated by sentiments like those- 
of the Chinese emperor, who destroyed all existing records, 
in the hope that he might be considered as the first who^ 
had reigned. 

On the return of the regiment to Dublin, I, in pursuance^^ 
of my determination to retire, procured twelve months' 
leave of absence to proceed to the Island of Corfu ; but 
previous to leaving England I made a last effort at the 
Horse Guards. In an interview with Lord Hill, finding 
there was no prospect of promotion, I took the liberty 
of telling his lordship that it was not my intention ever 
again to return to perform the duties of captain. His 
lordship remarked that he did not see how that could 
be, as officers on procuring leave of absence were required 

368 I MAKE MY BOW. [Ch. 

to sign a declaration that they would neither exchange 
nor resign before rejoining their regiments. I told his 
lordship that I should find out a remedy ; and on an 
explanation being demanded, I said that I should forego 
my year's leave and send in my resignation immediately. 
Upon this, his lordship with that kindness and feeling 
which endeared him to all, and which gained him the title 
of " Our father " from every soldier in the 2nd Division 
of Lord Wellington's army, a title more honourable than 
all the well-earned brilliant stars which decorated his breast, 
recommended me not to be too precipitate. 1 could not 
avoid remarking that his lordship could hardly accuse me 
of precipitancy when I had waited for promotion which 
had been put off from time to time for fourteen years, and 
at the expiration even of that extraordinary length of 
time His Royal Highness's pledge still remained unredeemed. 
Lord Hill declared that he could never pay the Duke of 
York's legacies. I told his lordship that I resigned all 
claim to the legacy, and rested my claims on their own 
merits, upon which the General-in-chief desired me to 
write to him, and he would see what he could do for me. 
In consequence of this favourable omen I wrote to his 
lordship, enclosing a copy of my memorial presented to 
the Duke of York in 1814, together with the testimonials 
which accompanied it. To this letter I received a renewal 
of the old statement, that I was still noted for promotion 
on a favourable opportunity; and so I became fully con- 
vinced of the truth that deep scars, fractured bones and the 
strongest testimonials were of no avail unless bolstered 
by other support. I hesitated no longer ; and although 
senior captain of my regiment I renounced my year's leave 
of absence and immediately forwarded my resignation. 
Thus the author of these Memoirs left the Army. He 


served at the siege and capture of Copenliagen; he was 
for twelve days in constant fight during Sir John Moore's 
retreat to Corunna, and at the end of this campaign he 
fought at the battle of Corunna in that division of the 
army who drove the whole of the enemy's cavalry off 
the field and turned his left wing ; he was for more than 
twelve months at Tarifa continually engaged with the 
enemy*s foraging detachments, and he was in both attacks 
on the strong post of Casa Vieja ; he served in the 
ever memorable battle of Barossa in that flank battalion 
(to use the words of Lord Lynedoch) " which so greatly 
distinguished itself in the action " ; he served in the 
action of Arroyo Molinos, and he was present at the 
siege and storming of Badajoz, where valour's self might 
stand appalled ; he served through the Pyrenees as a 
volunteer, where more continued hard fighting occurred 
than elsewhere throughout the whole Peninsula campaigns, 
and finally fought in the great battle of the Nivelle, in 
which he had a leg shattered. Innumerable skirmishes in 
which he was engaged and in which light companies are 
so frequently employed need not be mentioned. Of his 
conduct in these many actions the testimonials of com- 
manding officers and colonels of regiments are a sufficient 
witness. And yet after serving for a quarter of a century, 
with feelings harassed by neglect and petty vexations, he 
felt himself driven to retire, and that without the slightest 
badge or mark of military service save those indelibly 
imprinted by the searching weapons of the more considerate 
foe. Whether he has been dealt with as might be expected 
from a liberal, just and great nation is a question humbly 
submitted to his Sovereign and his country. 



Abbot, a stingy, 41 
Abercrombie, Lieut.-CoL, 213, 214, 

222, 223, 232, 239, 258 
Abrantes, 244 
Adams, Drummer, 192, 193 
Ainhoa, redoubts of, 317 
Alaejos, 31 
Alba de Tormes, 30 
Albuera, 258 ; losses of the 28tli 

Regiment at, 214. 
Albuquerque, 216, 239, 255 
AlcaU de los Gazules, 153, 157, 

Alcuescar, 216, 221 ; fidelity of the 

Spaniards at, 235 
Alemtejo, 30, 213 
Alexander, the Emperor, 338 
Algesiras, 135, 137, 141, 169 
Aliseda, 215 
Allen, Capt., 145 
Almanza Creek, 198 
Almeida, 279 
Almendralejo, 256 
Andalusia, 152 
Anderson, CoL, 122 
Anderson, Lieut, 205 
Andree, Col, 231 
Anglona, the Prince of, 177 
Anstruther, Gen., 31 

Antwerp, Fouche throws an army 
into, 131 

Army, a partial remodelling of the 

Arnot, Major, 286, 287 

Arroyo de Puerco, 215 

Arroyo Molinos, 216, 233, 360, 361 ; 
battle of, 224-232 ; fidelity of the 
Spaniards at, 235, 236 

Ashurst, Lieut.-CoL, 225 

Astorga, 43 ; march into, 44 ; de- 
parture from, 47 ; report that 
Napoleon had entered, 64, 65 

Atchison, Mrs., 333, 334 

Ayamonte, 245 

Aylmer, Lord, 307; his brigade, 

Badajoz, 259 ; the Duke of Dal- 
matia ordered to reduce, 152 ; 
siege of, 260-280 ; horrors of the 
storming, 272-276 ; a trophy 
from, 277 ; losses of the British 
at, 278 

Bailey, Lieut, 216, 217 

Baird, Gen. Sir David, wounded, 
122 ; at Nogales, 61 ; at Corunna, 
113, 115, 116 ; his corps, 32, 37, 




Balbi, Signorina, 364 
Ballesteros, defeat of, 244 
Bandon, 330 
Bantry Bay, 329 

Barbate, the River, 154, 156, 158,166 
Barnard, Lieut.-Col., 193, 262 
Barossa, 35 ; battle of, 42, 189-200 ; 
critical position of the British 
troops at, 202, 203 
Barossa Hill, 187, 209 ; tower and 

ridge of, 183 
Bastan, 315 
Bath, Lieut.-Col., 193 
Bathurst, Lord, 144 
Batz, Fort, captured by the British, 

Bayonne, arrival of the Duke of 

Dalmatia at, 296 
Beguines, Gen., 163, 167, 183, 184, 
196, 197 ; ordered to attack 
Medina Sidonia, 153 ; captures 
Medina, 159 ; retires from it, 164 
Belcher, Lieut, 135, 136 
Belem, 252, 281 
Belnevis, CoL, 286, 287 
Belson, Col., 150, 169, 171, 194, 205, 

Sl4, 258 
Bembibre, 48, 49 

Benevente, 37, 39; confusion in, 
40 ; evacuated by the rearguard 
of the reserve, 44 ; degrading 
scenes at, 49, 50 
Bennet, Capt., 68 
Bennet, Lieut., 204, 205 
Berasin, the Heights of, 300 
Beresford, Marshal, 246 
Bermeja Castle,' 181, 183, 184, 186 
Bernadotte declines to surrender 

the French fleet, 131 
Berri, the Due de, 336 
Betanzos, 90, 93, 96, 98 ; crossing 
the bridge of, 94 ; occupied by 
the French, 99 

Beverley, Lord, 253 

Bidassoa, the Lower, 308, 311 ; 
Soult's positions on, carried, 309 

Biscay, a privateer in the Bay of, 
286, 287 

Blakeney of Abbert, Mrs., 277 

Blakeney, Robert, appointed to an 
ensigncy in the 28th Regiment, 
1 ; promoted, 2 ; ordered to 
Exeter, 2 ; at Colchester and 
Harwich, 6 ; serves in the Danish 
campaign, 6-13 ; ordered to 
Sweden, 14 ; sails for the Penin- 
sula, 17 ; has a narrow escape, 
97 ; chased by a French patrol, 
134 ; his share of salvage-money, 

139 ; thanked in public orders, 

140 ; employed in carrying des- 
patches, 141, 144, 146, 167 ; Col. 
Browne promises to present him 
to Gen. Graham, 201 ; wounded, 
204 ; recommended to Gen. 
Graham, 206 ; goes to Cadiz, 
206 ; appointed to the command 
of a battalion company, 214 ; 
ordered to take Prince d'Aren- 
berg to Lisbon, 233 ; joins his 
regiment at Albuquerque, 255 ; 
gazetted to a company in the 
36th Regiment, 255 ; bids adieu 
to the 28th Regiment, 258 ; goes 
to Lisbon, 281 ; joins his regiment 
at Lewes, 285 ; transferred to 
the battalion in the Peninsula, 
286 ; wounded at the battle of the 
Nivelle, 319 ; travels in a hearse, 
329, 330 ; waits on Sir Henry 
Torrens, 331 ; sets out for Paris, 
333 ; applies for a staff appoint- 
ment in the army of Belgium, 
336 ; visits Brussels, 345 ; copies 
of recommendations in his favour, 
353-356 ; has ophthalmia at 



Malta, 363; married, 364 ; retires 
from the army, 367, 368; liis 
services, 368, 369 

Blakeney, Sir Edward, 243 

Blood, Serg., 300 

Bowes, Gen., 147, 148, 259 ; wounded 
at Badajoz, 266 

Bowles, Capt., 154, 164 ; his com- 
pany, 163 

Bradby, Capt., 109 

Bradley, Capt., 204 

Bristol Channel, wrecks in the, 4 

Britannia, the brig, 2 

Browne, Major (afterwards Col.), 
86, 129, 133, 1.35-137, 140, 146, 
150, 151, 154-156, 158, 159, 167, 
170, 206, 240, 258, 331 ; appointed 
Lieut. -Gov. of Tarifa, 144; em- 
ploys the Tarifa Volunteers, 145 ; 
ordered to attack Casa Vieja, 
153 ; ordered back to Tarifa, 160 ; 
to occupy the western point of 
Barossa, 183-188 ; at the battle 
of Barossa, 189-202 

Bryan, Capt., 330 

Buchan, Col., 244 

Bunbury, Mr., 4. 

Burke, Sir John, of Glenesk, 333 

Burrard, Sir Harry, 20 

Burrows, Capt., 2 ; his incapacity, 3 

Bury, Lord, 333-336 

Busshe, Major, 226 

Caceres, 215, 236 

Cadell, Ensign Charles (afterwards 
Lieut.-Col.), 2, 84, 205 

Cadiz, 162, 163, 167 ; sortie from, 
168, 169 

Cadoval, Palace of the Due de, 244 

Calcabellos, 49, 51, 52, 54, 57; 
encounter at, 58, 59 

Calvert, Capt. (afterwards Lieut.- 
Col.), 42, 186, 191, 206 

Cambarros, 47 

Cameron, Capt., 103, 104 ; his com- 
pany, 102 
Cameron, Col., 311 
Campbell, Gen., 133, 137, 147, 149, 

153, 169, 299 
Campbell, Sir Guy, 150 
Car, Dr., 326 

Carlos d'Espana, Don, 297 
Carrion, the, 33, 34, 35 
Casa di Santillana, 215 
Casa Vieja, Col. Browne to attack 
153, 154 ; La Peiia's move to- 
wards, 177 
Castanos, Gen., 235 
Castello Branco, 279 
Castletown, 329 
Castro Gonzolo, destruction of the 

bridge of, 37, 41 
Castro Nuevo, headquarters at, 32 
Cathcart, Lord, 2, 8 
Cattegat, capture of a Danish 

frigate in the, 7 
Cerro de Puerco Ridge, the, 182 

Ceuta, 208 

Charles V. and the Spanish lan- 
guage, 28 
Charles XII. of Sweden, 8 
Chatham, the Earl of, 127 ; returns 

from Holland, 131 
Chiclana, 163, 180, 182, 198 ; Mar- 
shal Victor's advance from, 184, 
Chiclana wood, the, 193 
Cintra, the Convention of, 20 
Ciudad Rodrigo, 28, 279 
Clarke, Mrs., 330 
Clauzel's Division, 298 
Clinton, Sir H., 316, 323 
Colbert, Gen., 59 ; failure of his 

charge, 61 
Colchester, 6, 14, 127, 128, 133 
Coldstream Guards, the, 130 ; de- 
fend Fort Batz, 131 



Cole, Gen., 296, 297, 298 

Colthurst, Capt., 341 

Colville, Maj.-Gen., the Hon. C, 
262, 307 

Combemartin, 3, 4, 5 

Comus, H.M.S., 7 

Cone, Capt., 330 

" Confidential Reports," 240-242 

Congreve rockets, 10 

Connaught Rangers, the, 268 

Constantino, 81, 82 

Coote, Sir Eyre, 1 

Copenhagen, fall of, 11, 12, 13 

Cork, arrival at, 331 

Corunna, a movement to decided 
upon, 36 ; retreat to, 31-100 ; 
arrival at, 102 ; the reserve falls 
into position with the army at, 
110 ; arrival of transports at, 
111 ; conduct of the inhabitants 
of, 112 ; preparations for em- 
barkation at, 114 ; battle of, 114- 
123 ; embarkation of the British 
army at, 118, 124 

Cre9y, 343 

Craufurd, Gen. Robert, 37, 39 

Croix des Bouquets, the, 311 

Cross, Col., 331 

Cuesta, Gen., incapacity of, 168 

Curragh of Kildare, the, 2 ; an 
episode at, 148, 149 

Curry, Capt. and Mrs., 214 

Curry, Col, 227 

Dacres, Doctor, 91 
Dalmatia, the Duke of, 31 ; ordered 
to Estremadura, 152 ; in com- 
mand of the French army in 
Spain, 296. {See also Soult) 
Dalrymple, Sir Hugh, 20 
Danish Campaign, the, 7 
Danish frigate, capture of a, 7 
D'Arenberg, Col. Prince, 231, 333, 
345 ; conducted to Lisbon, 233, 

D'Arenberg, Prince Pierre, 238, 244 

D'Arenberg, the Duke, 345-351 

Deal, 128 

Debelle, Gen., 32 

D'Echiparre, Don Martin, 327, 328 

Denmark, the Royal Princesses 
of, 9 

D'Erlon, Count, 298, 299, 310 ; his 
corps in the Pyrenees, 307 ; re- 
viewed by Soult, 309 

Desnouettes, Gen. Leffebre, 43, 44 

Diego, Don, 220 

Dikes' Brigade, Gen., 191 

Dikes, Gen., 193, 194 

Disney, Gen., 31, 105 

Douglas, Col. Sir James, 286, 287, 
289, 309, 310 

Dover, 128 

Downy, Mr. Commissary, 226 

D'Oyly, Capt., 105 

Drunkenness, prevalence of, 54 

Duncan, Major, 193, 196, 197 

Dunmanway, 330 

Durque, Don Favian, 205 

Ebro, the, 294 

Echallar, 300 

8th French Regiment, the, 193 

18th Dragoons, the, 32 

82nd Regiment, the, 170, 179, 305 

87th Regiment, the, 193 

El-Burgo, arrival of the reserve at, 
101 ; ordered to evacuate, 105 

El-Burgo, bridge of, 99 ; destruc- 
tion of, 101 ; repaired by the 
enemy, 110 

Elliot, Sir William, 333 

Elopement, a projected, 291 

Elsinore Castle, 6 

Elvina, 115, 118, 120, 121 ; death 
of Sir John Moore at, 116 

Enghien, 346, 347, 348 

English, Lieut., 109 

Erskine, Sir William, 225 



Esla, the River, 37, 38 ; forded by 

the enemy's cavalry, 43 
Espeletta, 309 
Estremadura, 30, 214 
Exeter, two Spaniards at, 125, 126 

Farrel, Serg., 171 

Fascinas, 154, 164 

5th Regiment, the, 24 

15th Hussars, the, 32, 33 

50th Regiment, the, charge of at 
Elvina, 121 ; at Arroyo Molinos, 
224, 225. 

52nd Regiment, the, 31 ; at 
Benevente, 41 ; at Calcabellos, 
56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62 ; on the 
retreat to Corunna, 100 ; at 
Corunna, 115, 117 

Figueira, landing at, 17 

Fitzroy, Lord Charles, 257 

Florinda, 207 

Flushing, siege of, 130 ; capitula- 
tion of, 131 

Fontarabia, 308 

Fontebro, 293 

41st Regiment, the, 133 

42nd Regiment, the, at Elvina 121, 

47th Regiment, the, 137 

Fouche throws an army into 
Antwerp, 131 

4th Regiment. {See King's Own) 

14th Regiment, the, 115, 118 

Foy's division, 306 

Franceschi, Gen., 32 ; his light 
cavalry, 94 ; at Corunna, 113, 

Francis, the Emperor, 338 

Franklin, Dr., 326 

Eraser, Gen., advance of his divi- 
sion on Astorga, 43 ; position of 
at Corunna, 113, 115, 117 

Frederiksborg, 10 

French 5th Corps, the, 214 

Fuentes de Onoro, march into, 26, 

Fury Bonih, the ship, 14 

Gallegos, 80 

Gambier, Admiral, 8 

General Medical Board, the, 326, 

Gerard, Gen., 214, 216, 228, 229, 
230, 236 ; loss of his corps at 
Arroyo Molinos, 231 

German Hussars, the, 177, 178, 197, 

Gibraltar, 133,205 ; Lieut. Blakeney 
sent to, with despatches, 141, 144, 
146, 167 

Gibson, Capt., 15 

Girlston, Capt., 330 

Giron, Gen., 217, 312 

Godwin, Capt., 146 

Gomm, Capt., 96 

Gonzolo Bridge, the, destruction 
of the, 37, 41 

Gore, Capt., 226 

Gottenborg harbour, 15 

Gough, Major, 193 

Gozzo, the Island of, 216 

Graham, Gen., 177, 178, 179; in 
command of the British troops 
at Cadiz, 152 ; directs operations 
from Tarifa, 153, 160 ; advocates 
a sortie from Cadiz, 167 ; gives 
up the command to his ally, 168 ; 
sails from Cadiz, 169 ; at Tarifa,. 
170-172 ; his advice disregarded 
by Gen. La Peiia, 180; his 
preparations for the battle of 
Barossa, 183-188 ; at the battle, 
189-200; his orders after the 
battle, 202 

Graham, Surg., 325 

Grajal del Campo, 33, 34, 35, 36 

Grenadiers, the, 77, 97, 98 

Grimelle, the Marquis de, 360 



Guadiana, the, 214, 256, 261, 271 

Guarda, 22, 24, 26 

Guards, the Brigade of, 86, 121, 190, 

191,194, 195,197,307 
Guia, the River, 56, 57, 61 
Gustavus of Sweden, 16 
Guthrie, Dr., 364 

Halket's Light Germans, 311 

Hamilton, Gen., 216, 217, 323 ; his 
division at Badajoz, 261 

Harwich, 6, 14 

Havelock, Lieut., 312 

Herrerias, 64, 66, 68, 69 

Hill, Capt. Clement, 221 

Hill, Gen. Lord, 215, 216, 217, 221, 
227, 229, 233, 255, 256, 257, 298, 
299, 300, 367, 368 ; his corps, 

Hill, Lieut., 104 

Hill, Sir Rowland, 315 

Holland, expedition to, 129 ; mor- 
tality of the British troops in, 

Hope, Capt, 196 

Hope, Gen. Sir John, 30, 37, 119, 
214; advance of his division 
on Astorga, 43 ; position of his 
division at Corunna, 113, 115 ; 
commands the expedition to 
Holland, 129, 130 

Howard, Gen. (afterwards Lord 
Howard of Effingham), 361 

Howard's Brigade, Maj.-Gen., 224 

Huarte, 297, 298 

Huddleston, Lieut., 220, 259, 275, 

Huelva, the River, 29 

Hughes, Corporal, 233 

Humlebek, 8 

Hunt, Capt. A., R.A., 181 

Ilfracombe, 3, 5 

Isla de Leon, 181 ; Gen. Graham 
proposes a sortie from, 153; 
Gen. Beguines' anxiety about, 
159 ; the sortie postponed, 160 ; 
entrance of the British General 
into, after Barossa, 200 

Johnson, Assist.-Surg., 161, 162 
Johnson, Col., 150, 151 
Johnson, Robert, 2 ; killed, 266 
Joseph Bonaparte, 296 
Julian, Count, 207 

Keats, Sir Richard, 128, 129, 

130, 140, 153, 160 
Kemp's Brigade, Gen., 312 
Kennedy, Surg., 363 
Kent, H.R.H. the Duke of, 253, 

351, 356 
Kirig Charles^ the, 8 
King's Own Regiment, the, 18, 81, 

115 ; Sir John Moore's approval 

of their action at Corunna, 120 ; 

embark for Gibraltar, 133 ; at 

Ceuta, 208 
Kinsale, 1 

Labaneza, 44 

Laborde, Gen., 112 ; his division 
join main French army off 
Corunna, 111 ; at Corunna., 115 

Tjacy, Adj.-Gen., 183 

Lallemande, the Generals, 335 

Lamartinifere's division. Gen., 305 

Lanz, valley of, 297, 298 

La Pena, Gen., 169, 177, 181, 198, 
199 ; sluggishness of, 152, 153 ; 
obstinacy of, 168 ; arrives off 
Tarifa, 175 ; distrusted by the 
British, 179 ; disregards Gen. 
Graham's advice, 180, 183 ; his 
retreat from Medina, 182 

Lardizabal, Gen., 177, 182 



Laval, Gen., 193, 194 

Lavens, Surg., 326 

Zawma frigate, the, 129, 130, 131 

Le Brun, Gen., 231, 248-252 

Leggatt, Major (afterwards Col.), 

Leith, Maj.-Gen., Sir James, 245, 

246, 262, 269 
Leon, 36 

L'Estrange, Lieut., 319, 322 
Lewes, 333 

Light, Lieut., 161, 204, 205 
Lindsay, Surg., 363 
Lisbon, 208, 209, 233, 244-253, 281 ; 

an amusing scene at, 282, 290 
Lizasso, 300 

Llerena, arrival of Soult at, 279 
Lloyd, Col., 317 
Loftus, Capt., 147 
Long, Gen., 257 
Lorge's Dragoons, 115 
Los Ayres, 114, 115 
" Louis XIV." Mountain, 306 
Louis XVIIL, 342, 343 
Love, Lieut., 41, 42 
Lugo, march to, 85 ; the British 

army in position at, 86 ; retreat 

from, 88 
Lundy Island, 2 
Lynedoch, Lord, 239, 240. (See also 

General Graham.) 

McDonald, Col., 196, 197, 200, 

M'Kenzie, Lieut.-Col., 112 

McPherson, Colour Ensign, 318 

Maitland, Sir Thomas, 242 

Mallow, 2 

Malpartida, 215 

Malta, 363; "Confidential Re- 
ports" at, 241 

Mancilla, 36 

Marmont, Gen., in the north of 

Portugal, 279 ; retires, ih. ; his 
jealousy of Soult, ih 

Matthews, Staflf-Surg., 325, 326 

Maya Pass, the, 306, 315, 296, 302 

Mayorga^ 33, 37 

Meacham, Capt., 144, 166 

" Meacham's Blind Nuts," 144, 145, 

Medina Sidonia, 153, 155, 158, 179, 
181 ; captured by Gen. Beguines, 
159; captured by the French, 
164 ; La Pena's retreat from, 182 

Merida, 215, 225, 256, 258; the 
affair of, 257 

Merle, Gen., 62 ; loss sustained by 
his division, 64 

Mero, the, 101, 113, 118 

Mitchell, Lieut,, 137, 154, 165 

Mole, Col., 147 

Mon Coeur redoubt, the, 262 

Mondego, the, 17 

Monkstown, 2 

Monte Orgullo, 305 

Montgomery, Ensign, 318, 322 

Moore, Lieut., 204 

Moore, Sir John, 14, 115 ; placed 
under arrest by the King of 
Sweden, 16 ; reaches the British 
fleet, 16 ; receives news of Sir 
A. Wellesley's victory at Rolica, 
17 ; appointed commander of 
the forces, 20 ; his address to his 
officers and men, 21 ; relations 
with his officers, 25, 26 ; true 
cause of his retreat, 36 ; com- 
plains of the want of discipline, 
52 ; his views on Gen. Paget's 
position at Calcabellos, 60, 61 ; 
retires before Soult, 87 ; issues 
an order censuring the want of 
discipline, 87 ; directing opera- 
tions in person, 101 ; at Corunna, 
111, 112, 116; death of, 116; 



effect of his death, 119 ; character 
and bearing, 120 ; circumstances 
of his death, 121-123 ; outcry 
against in England, 126 ; his 
imowledge of the Spanish 
character, 169 

Moors, the, 207 

Morillo, Gen., 231, 300 

Morillo's Spanish Infantry, 224 

Mullingar, 365, 366 

Mullins, Capt., 204 

Murgeon, Gen. Cruz, 183, 184 ; his 
part in the battle of Barossa, 
199, 200 

Napier, Major, 121 

Napoleon, marching from Madrid, 
36 ; celerity of his movements, 
38 ; his dictum at Waterloo, 63 ; 
reported to have entered Astorga, 
64, 65 ; his idea of zeal, 245 ; 
news of his escape and return 
to Paris, 334 

Neufch^tel, Prince of, an inter- 
cepted despatch from the, 31 

Ney, Marshal, execution of, 341, 

Nichols, Col., recaptures Palavia 
Abaxo, 115 

9th Dragoons, the, 226 

9th Regiment, the, 133, 170, 191, 
203, 204, 311 ; marched into 
Badajoz, 277 

91st Regiment, the, 31, 100 

92nd Regiment, the, 224, 225 

95th (Rifles) Regiment, the, 31, 53, 
58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 69, 82, 83, 
84, 100, 102, 103, 115, 117 

Nivelle, crossing the, 317 ; battle 
of, 318-321 ; French losses at, 

Nogales, 61, 67 ; arrival at, 70, 75 

Northcote, Major, 196 

Oats, Private, 97, 98 

O'Brien, Serg., 172 

O'Callaghan, Maj.-Gen. Sir 

WiUiam, 337 
O'Donnel, Gen., 297, 298 
O'Donoghue, Capt., 137 
Officers, claims of, 332 
Olivenza, the Duke of Dalmatia 

ordered to reduce, 152 
Oricain, 297 

Paget, Gen., 31, 35, 76, 77, 80, 
91, 95, 100, 101; censures the 
conduct of the troops, 53, 54, 55^ 
56; his position at Calcabellos, 
57, 60; his encounter with a 
paymaster, 78, 79; strict orders 
of, 88; orders the reserve to 
evacuate El-Burgo, 106, 107; 
his connection with the 28th 
Regiment, 109, 110; at Corunna, 
115, 116; Sir John Moore's 
testimonial to his character, 
123; Ms services unnoticed in 
England, 125 

Paget, Lord, 32, 33, 37, 43, 48 

Palavia Abaxo, skirmish at, 112 ; 
taken by Gen. Laborde, 115 ; 
retaken by Col. Nichols, ib., 118 

Pampeluna, 295, 296, 303, 314; 
sortie from, 297 ; surrender of » 

Panniers, battle of the, 91 

Pardaleras, the, 262 

Paris, the Grand Review in, 337- 

Parsonstown, 2 

Patten, Capt., 286 

Patterson, Col, 258 

Peniche, the roadstead of, 18 

Peninsula, the first day's march in 
the, 19 

Percy, Capt., 253 



Pbillipon at Badajoz, 260 ; surren- 
ders, 271 
Picton, Gen., 259, 262, 263, 267, 

268, 269, 297; his retreat at 

Pampeluna, 302 
Picurina redoubt, capture of the, 

Plunder, articles of, 92 
Plymouth, 124 
Ponsonby, Col., 197, 199, 206 
Portalegre, 214, 215, 238, 244 
Portsmouth, 14, 124, 133, 344 
Portugal, rainy season in, 24 
Portuguese and Spanish, contrast 

between, 27 
Portuguese sharpers, 209 
Potter, Lieut., 229 
Powder, a great explosion of, 111 
Power, Brig.-Gen., 262 
Power, Capt., 147 
Prussia, the King of, 338 
Puebla, arrival of the reserve at, 

Puerto, 300, 312 
Pyrenees, fighting in the, 296-307 ; 

losses in, 301 

QuELUZ, the plains of, 19 ; break 
up of the British camp at, 22, 26 
Queues, abolition of, 17 

Reille, Gen., 305 

Reserve, formation of a corps of, 

Reynosa, 293 
Rhine Mountain, the, 308 
Richelieu, the Due de, 342 
Rifles, the, 196, 224, 225 
Roach, " Gentleman," 72 
Roderick, the last of the Visigoth 

monarchs, 207 
Rolica, victory of Sir A. Wellesley 

at, 17 

Romana, the Marquis of, 35, 36 
44 ; his troops, 313 

Roncesvalles, 295, 296, 302, 309 

Ronda, 153 

Rook, Col., 233 

Ross, Col. (afterwards Gen.X 51, 

Rousseau, Gen., 188 ; his grena- 
diers, 188, 191, 194, 195, 197 

Royal City Regiment (of Spain) 
the, 177, 183 

Rueda, surprise of the enemy's 
outpost at, 32 

Rufin, Gen., 188, 189, 202 ; his 
division, 191, 193, 194, 195 

Sahagun, 32 ; headquarters at 

S. Antonio, 216, 217 
S. Cristoval, Fort, 262, 271 
S. Helens, 17 
S. Jean de Luz, 328, 329 
S. Juan, H.M.S., 139, 140, 141 
S. Lucia, 118 
S. Marcial, 305, 309 
S. Maria Bastion, the, 261, 262, 269, 

273, 278 
S. Martin del Rio, 28 
S. Roque Ravelin, the, 260, 261 
S. Sebastian, 295, 296, 303, 308; 

stormed, 305, 306, 307 
S. Vincente, the bastion of, 268, 269 
Salamanca, march to, 22 ; entrance 

into, 29 ; advance of the British 

army from, 31 
Saldaiia, 33 

ScUsette frigate, the, 129 
Santa Maria, 153 
Santarbas, arrival of the Reserve 

at, 32 
Santi Petri, the River, 153, 182, 

183, 184 
Sarre, 312 



Sauroren, fight at, 300 

Savage, Private, 105 

Schelde, forcing the passage of the, 

Sebastiani, Gen., 181 

71 8t Regiment, the, 224, 225 

73rd Regiment, the, 42 

Seville, the Duke of Dalmatia 
marches from, 152 

Shaw, Lieut.-Col., 337 

Sierra Montanchez, the, 218, 224, 
225, 226, 227, 231 

Simpson, Assist.-Surg., 324, 325 

6th Portuguese Regiment, the, 

67th Regiment, the, 193 

Skerrett, Col., 133 

Slavin, Sir Frederick, 259 

Somerset, Lord Fitzroy, 229 

Soult, Marshal, 36, 308 ; approach 
of his advance guard, 38 ; ap- 
proach of his heavy columns, 80 ; 
his arrival before Lugo, 87 ; his 
advanced guard, 94, 107 ; at 
Corunna, 112 ; his position, 113 ; 
dangerous situation of his army, 
117 ; his corps advancing, 233 ; 
arrives at Llerena, 279; retires 
into Andalusia, 280; remodels 
his army, 296; at Pampeluna, 
297, 298 ; retreats, 300 ; dis- 
organised state of his army, 305 ; 
his tactics, 306 ; prepares for a 
more general action, 307 ; his 
positions on the Bidassoa carried, 
309 ; his defence when charged 
with treason, 342. {See also 
Duke of Dalmatia) 

Sound, the, 6 

South Beveland, the Island of, 130, 

Spain, march of Sir John Moore's 
army for, 22 

Spaniards and Portuguese, contrast 

between, 27 
Spaniards, dislike of by the British 

soldiers, 35 ; their want of good 

feeling towards the British, 40, 

41 ; their character, 168, 169 
Spanish door, a, 71 
Spanish generals, tactics of, 182 
Spanish soldiers, courage of, 311, 

Sparks, lieut., 185 
Spithead, 17 
Stanhope, Major, 121 
Stewart, Lieut.-Col., 224 
Stockholm, Sir John Moore at, 16 
Stovin, Sir Frederick, 10, 21, 136 
Stralsund, 16 
Stuart, Gen., 8 
Stuart, Gen. Charles, 32, 43 
Stuart, Lord William, 129, 130, 131 
Sullivan, Lieut., 229 
Sweetland, Mr. William, 140 

Tacher, Miss, 345 

Tagus, crossing the, 23, 213, 252 

Talavera, 35, 168 

Tarifa, 207, 208, 209 ; march to, 
133; withdrawal of the French 
from, 136; regiments ordered 
to, 137 ; threatened by a second 
attack, 146; a campaign from, 
152-166 ; British troops sail for, 
169 ; conviviality at, 170 ; arrival 
of Gen. La Pena off, 175 ; depar- 
ture from, 177 ; return to, 205 W m 

Tarifa, the plain of, 164 J 

Tarifa Volunteers, the, 144, 157, 
158, 160 

Taylor, Lieut., 28th Regiment 
(afterwards Capt.), 104, 330 

Taylor, Lieut, 9th Regiment, 146, 

10th Hussars, the, 32, 33, 37, 43 



13th Dragoons, the, 227 

30th Regiment, the, 133 

34th and 39th Regiments, the, 225, 
226, 233 

36th Regiment, the, 256, 309, 316, 
318 ; ordered to reinforce Well- 
ington's army, 337; arrives in 
Paris, 341 ; removed to the 
Ionian Islands, and subsequently 
to England and Ireland, 363 

Toro, 32 

Torre la Peiia, 164 

Torremocha, 215 

Torrens, Col. Sir Henry, 239, 255, 
331, 336, 337 

Trafalgar Bay, 138, 180 

Trinidad, Fort, 261, 262, 271, 278 

"Trois Cents Corps Nobles, La 
Chapelle des," 343 

Trotter, Lieut., fate of, 288 

TurnbuU, Serg., 172 

20th Portuguese Regiment, the, 

20th Regiment, the, 31, 51, 100 

28th Regiment, the, 82, 85, 100, 
102 ; ordered to Kinsale, 1 ; re- 
moved to Parsonstown and the 
Curragh of Kildare, 2 ; on garri- 
son duty in Dublin, 2 ; in Den- 
mark, 6-13 ; ordered to Sweden, 
14 ; go to the Peninsula, 17 ; 
with Sir A. Wellesley's troops, 
18; inspection of, 20; losses of, 

► 24 ; form portion of a reserve 
corps, 31 ; a band of ventrilo- 
quists in, 45 ; reprimanded by 
Sir John'' Moore, 53 ; at Calca- 
bellos, 57, 61 ; in charge of the 
bridge of Betanzos, 94, 95 ; 
ordered to retire from El-Burgo, 
106 ; efficiency of during the 
retreat, 108, 109 ; return to Eng- 
land, 124; ordered to Holland, 

127 ; arrival in, 129 ; return to 
the Peninsula, 133 ; ordered to 
Tarifa, 137 ; garrisoned at, 169 
at Barossa, 188-200 ; their losses 
at Barossa, 203, 204; sail for 
Lisbon, 208 ; at Arroyo Molinos, 
225-229 ; celebration of anniver- 
saries in, 366 

United Service Jourival^ The^ 330 

Valencia, 37 

Valencia de Alcantara, 235, 237 

Valladolid, 31, 32 

Vandeleur, Gen., 335 

Vejer, 154, 161, 163; capture of an 
English merchant vessel near, 
137; retaken, 138; move of the 
British army towards, 179, 180 

Ventriloquists, a band of, 45, 46 

Vera, 306, 312 

Victor, Marshal, 133, 136; result 
of his inactivity, 181 ; advances 
from Chiclana, 184, 186 ; at 
Barossa, 195, 196, 198, 199 

Victoria, the Princess, 357 

Villaba, 296 

Villa Formosa, 26 

Villa Franca, arrival of the Com- 
mander-in-Chief at, 52 ; destruc- 
tion of stores at, 66; arrival of 
Soult at, 280 

Villamur, Count Penne, 215, 226 

Villapando, arrival of the reserve 
at, 32 

Villatte's Division, 198, 305, 306 

Villa velha, the pass of, 22 ; bridge 
of boats at, 279 

Villaviciosa, 213 

Vimieiro, 17 

Vincent, Lieut. 319, 322 

Vittoria, 294, 295 

Vivian, Capt., R.N., 139, 140 



Vwrol, Lieut.-Col., 231, 361, 362 

Walcheren, the Island of, British 
troops land on, 130 

Walker, Gen., 262; his brigade, 

Walloon Regiment, the, 177, 183 

Weir, Dr., 326 

Wellesley, Sir Arthur (afterwards 
Lord Wellington), 17, 20, 168, 244, 
266, 279, 321, 340 ; at Badajoz, 
266, 267 ; his arrangements to 
meet Soult, 279 ; arrival at Pam- 
peluna, 298 ; nearly captured, 
300 ; effect of his appearance on 
the battlefield, 306 ; his success- 
ful manoeuvring, 308 ; extract 
from his despatch on the battle 
of the Nivelle, 323 > 

Wench, Col., 116 
Wheatley, Col., 193, 194 
Whittingham, Col., 177, 183 184, 

Wilkinson, Lieut., 204 
Wilmot, Capt., 22, 23, 24, 29 
Wilson's Brigade, Col., at Arroyo 

Molinos, 225, 229 
Woodford, Lieut.-Col., 130 

Yarmouth, 16 

York, H.R.H. the Duke of, 239, 

Zante, the Island of, 42 
Zayas, Gen., 181, 182, 198 

command at Cadiz, 169 
Zubiri, the valley of, 297, 298 

Printed by Hazel], Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylwljury.